States lack physical activity policies in child care that are consistent with national recommendations.
BACKGROUND: Child care facilities' policies can importantly impact health behaviors of toddlers and preschoolers. Our aim was to assess state regulations promoting physical activity (PA) in child care and compare regulations to national recommendations. METHODS: We reviewed licensing and administrative regulations related to promoting PA for all states and territories for child care centers (centers) and family child care homes (homes). Three reviewers searched two sources (a publically available website and WestlawNext) and compared regulations with 15 Institute of Medicine recommendations. We used Pearson's and Spearman's correlations to assess associations between geographic region, year of last update, and number of regulations consistent with the recommendations. RESULTS: The average number and range of regulations in centers and homes was 4.1 (standard deviation [SD], 1.4; range, 0-8) and 3.8 (SD, 1.5; range, 0-7), respectively. Nearly all states had regulations consistent with providing an outdoor (centers, 98%; homes, 95%) and indoor (centers, 94%, homes, 92%) environment "with a variety of portable play equipment and adequate space." No state had regulations for staff joining children, avoiding punishment for being physically active, yearly consultation from a PA expert, or providing training/education on PA for providers. CONCLUSIONS: There is room for improvement in child care regulations around PA for young children; PA promotion should be included with future updates to regulations.
Duffey, KJ; Slining, MM; Benjamin Neelon, SE
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