A colleague recently shared with me a really great infographic prepared by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that illustrates just how much of an impact being outdoors can have on kids and their health. Here are just a few of the key facts illustrated by the AAP info-graphic:
- Children living within a ½ mile of a park are more likely to have higher levels of physical activity.
- Children living within 2/3 mile of a park with a playground can be five times more likely to have a healthy weight.
- Exposure to nature can reduce stress levels by as much as 28% in children.
- Even a 20-minute walk in nature can help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) concentrate better.
- Parents, friends and family are the most influential to youth participation in outdoor activities.
- Children who spend more time outdoors are less likely to be overweight by 27-41%.
- More than 1 in 3 children in the U.S. are overweight or obese. Minority and low-income children are disproportionately affected.
- Children have lost 25% of playtime and 50% of unstructured outdoor activity over recent decades.
- Nature Deficit Disorder was coined by author Richard Louv in 2005 to describe how children are spending less time outdoors and its impacts.
This summer, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ohio 4-H will not be able to offer our traditional residential and day camp programs. However, we are providing a series of virtual camp opportunities. Now I know what you’re thinking…this article is about getting kids outdoors (and perhaps thus avoiding screen-time). Our virtual camps will provide a series of short videos and activity sheets that parents and kids can review together at their convenience and then take time each day to pick and choose which activities they might want to complete. Some activities will be appropriate for indoors, but many will be things that youth can do outside such as making a craft, playing a game, or having a family campfire.
This year, Wayne County 4-H is offering a Virtual Junior Camp (a stay-at-home version of our traditional overnight residential camp) June 29 through July 2, Virtual Food and Nutrition Camp June 16-18, and Virtual Sewing Camp June 9-11. All three virtual camp opportunities will take place online via our sub-groups of our Wayne County 4-H Facebook Page. For more information, please contact the Extension Office.
Doug Foxx is an OSU Extension 4-H Youth Development Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.
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