Doctors: Children need more play time

Doctors at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx say parents and teachers should make sure children have at least 15 minutes of recess and play time every day.

Dr. Romina Barros and her colleagues at the college studied two groups of children, one that had less than 15 minutes of recess each day and one that had at least 15 minutes, and discovered stark differences between the groups. Barros says children who didn?t have play time displayed bad behavior in school and uncertainty when interacting with their peers.

Barros insists one of the most important outcomes of recess is exposure to other children, which helps kids learn through creative activities. Barros also observed in the study that Hispanic and African-American kids are the least likely to get exercise and play time in school. According to the college study, minority students who live in urban areas need recess more than other children because they frequently come from neighborhoods too dangerous to play in when they are home.

Barros and her colleagues recommend parents contact their children?s schools to find out how much recess their children get at school. In addition to social and behavioral development, the doctors say play time can also help to prevent childhood obesity.

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