One of the topics I am very interested in is general health and wellbeing. So you can imagine how my interest picked up while reading my current publication of Organic Gardener Magazine while drinking my coffee this morning, when I came across an article titled, “State of Play“.
This article quotes from several books and talks about the hugely reduced hours that the children of today actually play outdoors. It says that there has been a huge shift “in children’s outdoor recreation time – reduced from 73% to just 14% in the space of one generation.” It went so far as to say “studies are finding that outdoor play affects their cognitive, emotional and physical health,” and further that “children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) have also been found to perform better after contact with nature.”
I was previlidged enough to have raised 3 sons and now I think, lucky enough, to have always had large backyards for them to run and play freely in. To me it was my way of ‘remaining sane’ to be able to have the 3 boys run and play outside rather than be full of energy and confined indoors. Gosh, if they weren’t able to ‘burn’ off some of that energy I fear they would never have slept. Times certainly are changing and backyards are becoming smaller and smaller and in the major cities, many children are now raised in high rise buildings – with no yard at all. This article really made me think about how life must be to raise children in this sort of environment.
I am sure there are local parks that parents can take their children to so they can play outside, however, think for a moment of the reality of “life” that most parents endure now. Mostly both parents work full time jobs and so the children would be in some sort of ‘care’ after school. So what would happen every week day, the family would wake, devour breakfast and dress at a furious pace, off to school and work, then leave work to collect children from care, then home again. Now it would be late if not dark, so time to prepare the evening meal, homework, then bed. To visit a local park would take time that is not really available in the average working day, and the children would always need to be supervised in such a public place, unlike my boys that could run freely (and safely) in our backyard.
The reasons quoted in the article for this massively reduced amount of outdoor play are were “parents concerns about crime and safety” and really I can see these fears are real in our modern society – sadly. The article then went on to say that a study “showed that between 2004 and 2008, six to nine year olds spent (on average) just under 2 hours a day outdoors on the weekend with the rest of their time spent on sedentary indoor activities. The result… is a growing list of health issues including rising obesity, attention disorders and depression – the latter appearing at an increaseinly early age.”
Why am I raising this topic today? I believe that raising awareness is an inportant part of what the internet can offer to the modern world. Education is paramount to the health of the people in the fast moving society and the more we discuss everyday topics like this the more aware we all become. As I have said, my definition of Complete Wealth is to have good health, finances, relationships and mindset.
The standard of the future generations health begins with our children’s health now.