"There's a big room for improvement in how parents prioritize their time and what they're doing in the time they're spending with their pre-school children," said lead study author Dr. Pooja Tandon of Seattle Children's Research Institute.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children play outside as much as possible, for at least 60 minutes a day. Physical activity is not only good for weight control and preventing childhood obesity; previous research also suggests playing outside improves motor development, vision and vitamin D levels.
"There is evidence that play - just sort of the act of playing - is important for children's development of their social skills and their peer interactions," Tandon said. "Being outdoors affords children an opportunity to play in ways that they may not get to when they're indoors."Too many parents are missing the boat.
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