Are there any parents here? Raise your hands, how about aunts, uncles, neighbors to children? How do you see your young people spending their “down” time? Life has changed and for a while a big change went largely unnoticed. I am sure as parents you have some idea of what I am talking about. Kids are experiencing childhood today in a very different way and place than many of us did. Can anyone share with the group just how they see kids their own or others spending there time? (lead feedback: TV, video games, cell phones, ipods, computers, head sets, etc)
Right, TV, video cames, phones etc. This has been a huge change. The amount of time kids spend connected to electronic media. Does anyone know just how much time kids are spending connected to electronic media?
We are following the same trend as the rest of the country. One impact that gets a lot of attention- In the last 20 years time spent playing outside has been cut in half while childhood obesity has doubled and adolescent obesity has tripled.The cost of childhood obesity in the US is an estimated $100 billion.
It’s not just obesity. One study linked weakened immune systems to kids no longer getting dirty (natural inoculation from the earth).A recent resurgence in rickets has been linked to kids failing to get enough sunshine and outdoor exercise.
Importance of Play: Play protects children's emotional development; whereas a loss of free time in combination with a hurried lifestyle can be a source of stress, anxiety, and may even contribute to depression for many children.Study: Ginsburg, MD, MSEd, Kenneth R., Committee on Communications, and Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health. "The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds." 119.1 (2007). American Academy of Pediatrics, Jan. 2007.
Time in nature improves:Academic performanceConcentration Balance & coordinationSelf-esteem & copingAnd reduces:ADHD/ADD ( green = symptoms)Stress & anxietyBlood pressureAccording to studies, children’s academic performance in science, math, English and social sciences, as well as their sense of ownership and responsibility to their surroundings, increase when they have hands-on experiences with nature and the outdoors.Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder: Researchers at University of Illinois report findings that indicate exposure to natural settings in the course of common after-school and weekend activities may be "widely effective" in reducing attention deficit symptoms in children.Study: Kuo, PhD, Frances E., and Andrea Faber Taylor, PhD. "A Potential Natural Treatment for Attention- Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Evidence From a National Study." American Journal of Public Health 94.9. Sept. 2004.
So, all that I have shared, isn’t new information. So– how come we have bored Indoor children? A: ingle parents, working parents, over-scheduled kids, pressure to be the perfect parent, unsafe neighborhoods, lack of playgrounds, community play spaces.
Access to and availability of parks, open space, and trailsOver-schedulingLiability issuesSocio-economic status (Disparities)
So to bring it back to Wildlife. NWF’s work always comes back to our mission, inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future. Here maybe wildlife can insprite American’s to protect play and connecting to nature for our children’s future. After all play outdoors teachers us new ways to get along….
It teachers us how our body works, and doesn’t.
And how to compete, interact and sometimes even survive.
There are also other impacts to our work and the lives of our members- that deserve at least a nod.
So in our daily work, NWF considers success moving people from this summer vacation to this summer vacation.
To more quality time outdoors
So how do we go from, here? To here?
On February 3, NWF presented a petition to our new Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin, that was signed by a diverse group of more than 200 health, conservation and youth organizations and more than 16,300 citizens who are urging Dr. Regina Benjamin to be part of the solution. Make time outdoors a health priority for children. The new citizen’s petition and letter of support to Dr. Regina Benjamin recommend a “Call to Action” to promote the health benefits of children who engage in regular unstructured outdoor play in their backyards, at local parks, or any green space that offers the opportunity to connect with nature. Upcoming efforts:Call on Congress to pass a bill to provided funding for states to create comprehensive policy plans for children and the outdoors.Call on Secretary of Health and Human Services or Director of CDC to include outdoor physical activity in CDC’s state obesity action plansCall on Secretary of Health and Human Services to act to increase outdoor play time at Head Start CentersCall on Secretary of Education to act to restore recess and outdoor play – connect to NWF’s TIME OUT reportSupport the 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps. Tell your members of Congress to invest in a program that will engage thousands of young people in the outdoors.Also, As Congress gears up for re-authorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, there is a positive new boost from the White House. Due to NWF and colleague organizations' urging -- the 2011 President's budget includes $1 billion for a new "Complete Education" program which -- for the first time ever -- includes environmental literacy. The ESEA is an annual $40 billion spending program that has never (to-date) explicitly contained environmental education. This White House request dramatically improves the opportunity for significant EE funding at the Department of Education.
This issue is important to me on a number of levels- professionally, I work for a non profit conservation organization. An organization founded as a direct result of peoples connection to wildlife and to the land. We understand that as people lose this connection, we lose the voice and consideration that is needed to see strong conservation into the 21st century. So there is a bit of self preservation at stake. I am also a working mother of two young daughters. Girls that will be growing up in the ever changing, fast paced and if things don’t change, largely indoor world.
Thank you for your time!
National Wildlife Federation’s Be Out There™ Movement toGet Children Playing & Learning Outdoors
Americans spend less time outdoorstoday than ever in history.
The ChallengeHow much time do children ages 8 – 18 spend plugged into electronic media per day? • 2 hours and 21 minutes • 4 hours and 25 minutes • 7 hours and 38 minutes 7 hours and 38 minutes • 9 hours and 02 minutes
Obesity Overweight (% of pop.) (% of pop.)Colorado 18% 37% U.S. 24% 37% Obesity: By Body Mass Index 25 20 Nationwide 15 Median % Colorado 10 5 0 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 YearsSource: BRFSS, 2007. (SCORP)
Physical Health heart disease high blood pressure sleep disorders Physical Inactivity = Obesity liver disease = metabolic syndrome high cholesterol asthma orthopedic and joint complications mental health problems eating disorders type 2 diabetes
Reason for Not Spending % of Respondents More Time Outdoors (6-19 yrs. Old)More involved in indoor 38%sportsNeighborhood does not 25%have good accessDont have anyone to play 22%outdoors withNo transportation 21%It is not safe to play or do 13%sports outside Source: NSRE, IRIS, 2007-2009. N= 900.
More Policy Solutions• Restore Recess Campaign• Increase or protect Federal Funding for Agencies through Annual Appropriations Process• Pass the No Child Left Inside Act: Environmental Education at K-12 Level, State Environmental Literacy State Plans• Incorporate Time Outdoors into School Wellness Plans• Pass Other Authorizing Bills to Support Connecting Children with Nature
Be Out There State PolicyCampaign WA MT ME ND VT OR MN NH MA ID WI NY SD MI WY RI CT IA PA NJ NV NE OH DE IL IN UT CO WV MD VA CA KS MO KY NC TN AZ OK AR SC NM MS AL GA Policy Secured TX LA Active in FL Coalition AK Involved in NWF Regional Grassroots Office Movement HI