By Holly Lebowitz Rossi

Parents who urge their child care providers to focus more on learning than on vigorous physical play may be doing their kids a disservice, a new study published in the journal Pediatrics has found.  Nearly three-quarters of American children between ages 3 and 5 are enrolled in some sort of child care, and the study reports that most of these kids spend most of their days doing sedentary activites.

Interestingly, the study is released at the same time as other research that showed physical fitness to be directly related to improved academic performance, a finding that should

Richard Rende, Parents.com's child psychology blogger, offered the following advice to parents who want to avoid sedentary habits in their children:  "If you want to promote the optimal development and health of your toddler, make sure they have plenty of time for free play and physical activity. Convince yourself that this will be as important – if not more so – than the 'academics' they are learning during the preschool years. And do what you can to make sure they get it."

Image: Preschool girl reading, via Shutterstock.

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