Fight Childhood Obesity By Playing Outside

Childhood obesity rates continue to rise, and a new report suggests that too much time inside may be playing a significant role. Sending kids outside to play can help them avoid or overcome childhood obesity before developing dangerous health complications.

The National Wildlife Federation estimates that children are spending less than ten minutes, on average, engaged in unstructured play outside. The report, entitled “Whole Child: Developing Mind, Body and Spirit through Outdoor Play,” noted that about 75% of children spent daily time playing outside a generation ago, while only 25% of today’s children spend time outside every day. How can you get your kids playing outside more and prevent childhood obesity?

Tips For Encouraging Playing Outside

  • Encourage kids to walk or bike to school if possible.
  • Spend less time as an adult in front of the TV or computer.
  • Organize playgroups with other children that include outdoor activities.
  • Reduce and limit the amount of time kids are allowed to watch TV or play video games.
  • Encourage creativity, including fort building and games with imaginary friends.

Deputy U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Rutstein notes that getting kids to play outside is crucial to their future health and the health of our society as a whole. “If this problem is not addressed,” he says, “we will leave our children a legacy of shorter life spans for the first time in history.”