HOUSTON Preschoolers enjoy playing and running around, but a new study claims the young students are not doing that as much.

A study conducted by a pediatrician from the Cincinnati Children s Hospital Medical Center suggested preschoolers spend too much time on sedentary activities instead of exercising.

It doesn t surprise me. It is a little bit sad. I think the focus has shifted, especially in the last decade, about what is more important, physical play versus academics, said Jil Jaeger, a preschool teacher at Grace School in west Houston.

Susan Landry from UT Health Children s Learning Institute was all too familiar with the issue. She studied the problem of early childhood obesity for more than a year.

There was a lot of information to suggest that physical exercise, which we know is critically important for little kids, is probably being, not always promoted, Landry said.

The latest study also mentioned some parents are afraid of their children being injured, while some schools stressed the lack of play space for their young students because of budget issues.

Landry did not believe either should be an excuse.

I ve been in the tiniest of classrooms and kids can do jumping jacks, then can do duck, duck, goose -- they do all sorts of games that have movement associated. So, the playground is not necessary, Landry said.

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