Advocates for programs like Complete Streets and Safe Routes to Schools will tell you that the programs encourage healthy activity for children and can be a key tactic to combat childhood obesity. Now, a new survey reported by TechWorld suggests that children five years old and younger are acquiring computer skills at higher rates than they are acquiring the ability to participate in healthy activities – like cycling.
The survey spoke to 2,200 mothers in 10 countries. Findings include:
- 69% of children ages two to five can operate a computer mouse
- 58% can play some form of computer game
- 28% can make a mobile phone call
- 52% ride bikes
- 20% swim
Computer use is typically a sedentary activity. While such skills are essential for long-term success in school and society, basic childhood skills such as cycling and swimming should not be neglected, and have many benefits, ranging from fitness and weight control, sunlight exposure for vitamin D production, and even helping tire out the lil’ buggers so they’ll nap or go to bed on time.
Results such as those in this survey are likely to increase as parents who are largely sedentary raise children, and as schools continue to eliminate recess and physical education in favor of increased classroom instructional time. Continued awareness of the impact of building livable communities to combat obesity and inactivity should be included in all advocacy efforts towards these goals.