Girls get significantly less exercise than boys in Finnish daycare centres, according to the latest findings from a study of 800 children. The Dagis study of pre-schoolers in Finland looks for energy balance-related behaviours in kids aged from 3 to 6.
When children wore activity trackers for a week at their kindergarten, girls were found to move less than boys. The difference was especially stark in the levels of vigorous exercise, with boys accumulating some 56 minutes per day and girls performing just 46 minutes.
Although the difference each day is not that great, it can add up to become a significant deficit over longer time periods.
"At this age different skills and habits are taught, which can be projected into later childhood and adulthood," said researcher Suvi Määttä of the Folkhälsän research centre. "In that way it can affect health now and long into the future."
The researchers did not find a significant difference in boys' and girls' exercise patterns at home, suggesting that further research on what causes the exercise gap at daycare is necessary. Dagis researchers suggested that both boys and girls could do with more exercise.