ST. LOUIS–A large group of wellmeaning officials from several states have a message for you and your family: Go take a hike. They’re urging moms and dads to take their kids away from the television and go outside for some fresh air as part of
ST. LOUIS–A large group of well-meaning officials from several states have a message for you and your family: Go take a hike.
They’re urging moms and dads to take their kids away from the television and go outside for some fresh air as part of “Take a Child Outside” week from Sept. 24-30.
The special week began last year in North Carolina and has now spread throughout much of the U.S.
About 250 organizations in the U.S. and Canada are taking part this year. Do children really need a themed-week to encourage them to play outside?
Supporters say it certainly could help. With child obesity on the rise and children spending more time playing electronic games or surfing the Internet, supporters of the effort are extolling the virtues of getting out of the house.
“There’s just a disconnect with the natural world around you,” said Sue Holst, a spokeswoman for Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources, which oversees the state parks. “Today’s children do not seem to have the same connection to the outdoors.”
Liz Baird, director of school programs with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, agrees: “When I was a kid, you had to come inside when the street lights came on.”
Baird, who came up with the idea of “Take a Child Outside” week, said now parents often have to tell their children they must go outside for 30 minutes.
The effort comes at a time when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 17 percent of U.S. youngsters are obese, and millions more are overweight.
Obesity can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep problems and other disorders. AP
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