The Top 5 Health Benefits of Nature Play
When you start digging in to data about children's health in this country, the findings can be a bit scary...
- According to the CDC, 8.9% of 2- to 5-year olds are obese, a figure that rises to 17.5% for 6- to 11-year-olds and 20.5% for 12- to 19-year-olds.
- Rates of myopia, or nearsightedness, have skyrocketed in recent years, with some eye health professionals predicting that if the trend continues, 50% of the world's population will have myopia by 2050.
- Doctors report a striking increase in childhood vitamin D deficiency, putting children at risk for major physical problems due to weak bones and muscles.
- The number of children ages 4 to 17 being medicated for ADHD increased by 28% between 2007 and 2011. The number of young children (ages 2 to 5) with an ADHD diagnosis increased by more than 50% from 2007 to 2012.
- A 2012 study found that 1 out of 7 children ages 2 to 8 were reported to have a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder. Another study the same year showed that 7.5% of children ages 6 to 17 were being medicated for "emotional or behavioral difficulties."
These trends are concerning to medical professionals, parents, and educators alike. The good news is that many of these issues can be addressed without expensive interventions. Simply getting children outdoors on a regular basis to play and move freely can go a long way toward minimizing negative health impacts.
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