Now that there are less daylight hours and it’s dark before dinnertime in much of the country, children are less active and their outdoor playtime is reduced. This is supported by a study done by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The study tracked more than 300 children aged eight to eleven for over four seasons and found that children had the highest level of outdoor activity during the summer months when there were 14 or more hours of daylight. Physical activity dropped off significantly as daylight hours dropped off.
Children wore accelerometers to record their body movements, and kept a daily activity journal. The researchers found that children were more physically active in summer afternoons between 5pm and 8pm. Their physical activity levels in the earlier parts of the day remained unchanged through all four seasons.
Experts suggest that parents may need to find alternative ways to keep children active in the winter months such as using indoor recreational facilities.
Source: The Journal of Physical Activity and Health