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Article courtesy Y-Connection, Baton Rouge YMCA
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Top Ten Reason Kids Should Play Outside
February 1st, 2012 - With so many video games and shows out there, kids are starting to stay indoors more often. This could be a huge issue due to the high numbers of obesity, especially in our area of Southern Louisiana. The Louisiana obesity rate is 31 percent, making it one of the highest in the nation. To keep children from becoming part of the number, it's important to incorporate some outdoor time so that kids can run and explore the world around them.
Here is a list provided by the National Wildlife Federation on why kids should play outdoors.
1. Stronger bones and lower cancer risk: Today's "indoor kids" don't get enough sun and are becoming Vitamin D deficient, causing health risks.
2. Trimmer and healthier kids: An hour of play a day is what doctors say is a basic tool in the effort to ward off childhood obesity and diabetes.
3. Improved eyesight: Recent studies find that kids who get outdoor time have less nearsightedness and need for eye glasses.
4. Less depression and hyperactivity: Outdoor time in natural setting (even tree-lined streets) soothes kids and lowers their need for medications.
5. Longer attention spans: Children who stare at the TV and video games all day have less patience and shorter attention spans.
6. Better at making friends: Children playing together outdoors relate directly with one another, create games together, choose sides and improve their "people skills."
7. More creative: Outdoor kids are more likely to use their own imaginations, inventions and creativity while playing.
8. Improving immunity: Playing in the dirt strengthens the immune system. Handling bugs in childhood is critical to preventing many auto-immune diseases. Your body learns by doing and through evidence, just as it does for intellectual activities.
9. Measurably better grades in school: The healthy bodies and minds that come with outdoor play are better able to do well in school.
10. A longer lifespan and healthier adult life: Doctors estimate that sedentary and obese children lose three to five years from their life expectancy.