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Nature Notebook

Developing Healthy Kids Through Outdoor Play: The Whole Child Report

children playing on play ground

When it comes to the whole child, nature may indeed be the best kind of nurture.

The nature of childhood has changed: There’s not much nature in it. American childhood’s move indoors profoundly impacts the health and wellness of our nation’s kids. It is not just a sad loss of innocence; a detachment from all things growing and green. It is a serious public health issue that all Americans need to care about.

In the last twenty years, childhood obesity rates have more than doubled; the United States has become the largest consumer of ADHD medications in the world; and the use of antidepressants in pediatric patients has risen sharply. American kids are out of shape, tuned out and stressed out because they’re missing something essential to their health and development: unstructured outdoor play.

National Wildlife Federation’s report, Whole Child: Developing Mind, Body and Spirit through Outdoor Play, is the first in a series of reports illuminating the critical issues and societal costs surrounding America’s indoor childhood. Here, we offer insight into the health benefits associated with how daily unstructured play time in nature nurtures a child’s body, mind and spirit.

Also find recommendations for growing healthy kids for:

Plus, download your own Whole Child Poster and Healthy Family Prescription!

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