Let the Kids Run! The Importance of Playing Outside

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Let the Kids Run! The Importance of Playing Outside

As kids spend more time in classrooms and with electronics, they are also consuming more sugar and calories than ever before. This is leading to an obesity epidemic.

Goodbye to the Great Outdoors
○ 21% of elementary students don’t have recess on any given day
○ 44% of children living below the poverty line did not have recess on any given day
○ 25% of children scoring below the mean on a standardized test did not have recess on any given day
○ 8% of third graders have never had recess
○ 15% of third graders have less than 15 minutes per day of recess
○ In the 1980s 12-14 year olds averaged 6.5 hours per week of outside play, currently this is down to 4.5 hour a week
○ Ages 6-17 averaged 1 hour 40 minutes per week outdoors in the 1980s, whereas the same age group today averages 50 minutes per week
○ Since the implementation of NCLB, 20% of school systems have decreased recess time by an average of 50 minutes or more per week

A Growing Concern
○ from 1980 to 2008 obesity in children 6-11 grew from 6.5% to 19.6%
○ from 1980 to 2008 obesity in adolescents 12-19 grew from 5.0% to 18.1%
○ The average sugar-sweetened beverage was 13.6 ounces in the mid 1970s, today it is over 20 ounces
○ The average kid consumes an extra 200 calories per day (today)
○ The average American eats 15 pounds more of sugar each year than in 1970

It Pays to Play
The Many Benefits of Recess:

Social skills
● Negotiation
● Conflict Resolution
● Conflict Resolution
● Independence
Cognitive skills
● Self-control
● Decision-making
● Problem-solving
● Motor Skills

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Sources:

http://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/200909/On%20Our%20Minds%20909.pdf
http://www.ns.umich.edu/Releases/2004/Nov04/teen_time_report.pdf
http://www.letsmove.gov/learn-facts/epidemic-childhood-obesity
http://www.cdc.gov/features/healthybeverages/
http://horttech.ashspublications.org/content/10/1/71.full.pdf
http://www.earlychildhoodnews.com/earlychildhood/article_view.aspx?ArticleID=275