Spending time outside is good for you and your children's health

Today’s generation of children are spending their time in a much different way than their parents once did. Over the last few decades, kids have increasingly moved indoors. We are seeing the negative impacts of this decrease in time spent outside on children’s health and ability to learn.

 

Did you know?   
  • Children are spending less than half the time outdoors than their parents did growing up.  (Kaiser Family Foundation)

  • Children spend as much as 7.5 hours in front of electronic media in a typical day.  (Kaiser Family Foundation)

  • More than half of all American children between the ages of 0-8 now have access to one of the newer mobile devices at home, and nearly one-third have a TV in their bedroom. (Common Sense Media)

  • Children who play outside are more physically active, more creative in their play, less aggressive and show better concentration. (Burdette and Whitaker, 2005; Ginsburg et al., 2007)

  • Sixty minutes of daily unstructured free play is essential to children’s physical and mental health. (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2008)

  • The lack of outdoor play time has taken its toll on children’s health. Chronic health conditions such as obesity, asthma, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder plague children throughout the nation, including at home in Idaho. Currently, 27.5% of children in Idaho are overweight or at-risk for overweight while 62.9% of adults in Idaho are either overweight or obese. (Kaiser Family Foundation www.statehealthfacts.org)

 

The benefits of being outside are numerous:
  • Regular exercise outdoors is proven to improve children’s physical, mental, and social health.

  • Being active outside helps kids maintain a healthy weight, boosts their immunity, strengthens bones, and lowers stress.

  • More time spent in green environments reduces ADHD symptoms and helps children with ADD manage their symptoms.

  • Research has found children who spend time playing outdoors regularly are better able to concentrate in the classroom, disciplinary problems in the classroom are reduced, and children show greater problem-solving skills.

 

Kids need at least 60 minutes of active and vigorous play each day to stay healthy. One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to meet this goal is simply by playing outside.  Be Outside, Idaho seeks to help children and their families connect with nature, from backyards to mountain tops.