Improving Public Health through Early Childhood Movement Programs

By Garcia, Clersida; Garcia, Luis et al. | JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, January 2002 | Go to article overview

Improving Public Health through Early Childhood Movement Programs


Garcia, Clersida, Garcia, Luis, Floyd, Jerald, Lawson, John, JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance


Early childhood is a unique period of life, a time when children are developing physically, emotionally, intellectually, and socially. Providing a movement development program at this early age enables children to acquire fundamental motor skills and the feeling of competence in movement. Once in place, these skills serve as the foundation for building more complex motor skills later in life. Early development of competence in movement has the potential to create a healthy habit of physical activity participation.

While learning motor skills is rewarding in itself, it also has significant health benefits. Research has demonstrated that virtually all individuals will benefit from regular physical activity. The Surgeon General's report on physical activity and health concluded that moderate physical activity can substantially reduce the risk of developing or dying from heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, and high blood pressure (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 1996). If more Americans were physically active, our health care expenses would be reduced and the quality of our lives would improve.

Common sense suggests that happy and successful experiences early in life predispose people to enjoy physical activity. If that is true, school administrators, early childhood educators, motor development specialists, and physical educators have a tremendous opportunity to influence the health of the next generation by providing movement program opportunities to young children.

This article discusses how movement programs can help young children develop fundamental movement patterns and healthy, active lifestyles while learning cognitive and psychosocial concepts. In addition, it describes specific techniques and approaches that educators can use to promote physical activity. These techniques can give children positive, developmentally appropriate experiences with the ABCs of movement skills, thereby inspiring continued participation in and enjoyment of physical activity.

Public Health Goals for Physical Activity

In January 2000, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) launched Healthy People 2010, a comprehensive, nationwide health promotion and disease prevention agenda, which calls for Americans to increase their daily physical activity (USDHHS, 2000). Looking at the current level of physical activity, there is reason for great concern.

A significant portion of the United States population is sedentary. Forty percent of the adult population reported that they engaged in no leisure-time physical activity, while children and adolescents reported that they ride a bicycle on 2.4 percent of all trips two miles or less (USDHHS, 2000). As a result of our lack of exercise, too many of us are at risk for cardiovascular disease and other diseases. The problem is made worse by our being overweight and eating unhealthy diets. According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP, 2000), the percentage of overweight and obese children has more than doubled between 1980 and 1994, with 10 percent to 15 percent of children and adolescents being overweight. Sixty percent of five-to-ten-yearold obese children already have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and 25 percent of obese children have two or more risk factors (NCCDPHP, 2000). Young people are at particular risk for becoming sedentary as they grow older (President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, 2001). Even among children aged three to four years, those who are less active tend to remain less active after the age of three than most of their peers (Pate, Baranowski, Dowda, & Trost, 1996). Viewed together, these statistics are quite alarming. Therefore, encouraging moderate and vigorous physical activity among youths seems essential.

Why are people inactive? No one knows the answers for sure. However, Barnett and Merriman (1991) have identified three misconceptions about early physical activity and motor skill development that may be partly responsible for the pattern of physical inactivity and the health problems our youth and adult populations are experiencing today. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Improving Public Health through Early Childhood Movement Programs
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.