Spending Time Outdoors is Also Key to Reducing Child Obesity

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When Reducing Child Obesity in The United States Requires Caregiver Involvement was written, it explored the effects of childhood obesity and explored various resources and advice for parents to implement healthy lifestyle changes. With a growing number of children spending their free time inside playing video games, there has been a phenomena called “nature deficit disorder” which may be linked to escalations in child obesity, attention disorders and depression (Louv, 2008). Furthermore, children who are exposed to the outdoors are “healthier, happier, and smarter” (Cleaver, 2007).

In a recent interview with mom-to-be Ashley Clark, a dental hygienist in Detroit, Michigan, she spoke of the importance of the outdoors and how being outside can make you healthier.

“My husband and I are active in our own lives, and we hope that our children follow us in that aspect.” Said Clark. “We spend a lot of time outside and want our children to grow up enjoying that healthy lifestyle that nature provides.”

Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move!, which was a program highlighted in the article, also recognizes the importance of outside time, especially in schools. It has been found that schools which use environmental education programs had students that performed better on standardized tests then schools using traditional curriculum (Bartosh, 2006).

References:

Bartosh, O., Tudor, M., Ferguson, L., & Taylor, C. (2006). Improving test scores through environmental education: Is it possible? Applied Environmental Education and Communication, 5(3), 161–169.

Cleaver, S. (2007). Classrooms are going green: How green classrooms are reconnecting kids with nature. Instructor, 117(3), 20–24.

Louv, R. (2008). Last child in the woods: Saving our children from nature deficit disorder. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books.

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