OutDoor kINdergarten – a healthier choice?

It has become common that young children have a sedentary lifestyle at home. Thus, the activity level during kindergarten hours is important. If most of the time spend in kindergarten is characterized by indoor activities, it may increase the risk of later health problems. Due to social inequalities in health, the risk may be even higher in children from low income families. It is a common belief that children attending outdoor kindergartens are healthier, and from more affluent families, than children attending traditional kindergartens. Yet, the evidence to support this is limited. This study will deliver evidence on the potential health benefits of outdoor kindergartens compared to traditional options, with specific focus on children from low income families. We will investigate differences in didactic practise for physical activity, play and education, measured physical activity and sleep, long term motor development, weight, visual acuity, infections, and health economic costs.

The study will generate knowledge about the health benefits of the unique Scandinavian outdoor kindergartens compared to traditional options. A sedentary lifestyle is becoming more common even in young children, which is a public health challenge. If outdoor kindergartens are, in fact, a healthier choice, especially among children from low-income families, developing a strategy to improve the use of outdoor kindergartens among low-income families might be an easy and already existing preventive method to diminish inequalities in health.