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Fast Facts About Healthy Living

1. The average American child spends 44 hours per week (more than 6 hours a day) staring at some kind of electronic screen.

2. Research shows that children are spending half as much time outside as they did 20 years ago - and much more time doing "inside" activities.

3. Test scores have been shown to be better in schools that offer environment-based programs, as compared to schools without such programs.

4. Studies have shown that environmental education programs throughout the curricula (science, language arts, arts, and social studies) combined with hands-on learning elements like nature study areas, team teaching, and broad school administration support, create top-performing students.

5. 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.

6. Obesity among children aged 6 to 11 has more than doubled in the past 20 years, to 17 percent of children in this age group. The rate of clinically obese adolescents (aged 12-19) more than tripled, to 17.6 percent. The Centers for Disease Control concludes that a major missing ingredient is an hour per day of moderate physical activity.

7. 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.

8. Researchers found that kids who spent more time outside during the day tended to have better distance vision than those who favored indoor activities.

9. On average, American kids get only 26 minutes of recess per day, including lunchtime. Children from low-income families tend to get even less than that.

10. Young people between the ages of 10 to 16 engage in vigorous activity, on average, for only 12.6 minutes per day — nowhere near the 60 minutes that the surgeon general recommends.


1. Rideout, Victoria et al. (2005). Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-Olds. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

2. Juster, F. Thomas et al. (2004). "Changing Times of American Youth: 1981-2003," Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan. Child Development Supplement

3. National Environmental Education & Training Foundation. Environment-based Education: Creating High Performance Schools and Students.

4. Lieberman, Ph.D, Gerald A., and Linda L. Hoody, M.A. "Closing The Achievement Gap: Using the Environment as an Integrating Context for Learning." State Education and Environment Roundtable. The preparation of this report supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts

5. 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

6. CDC's Childhood Obesity Prevention in Schools

7. 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

8. What's Hot in Myopia Research-The 12th International Myopia Conference, Australia

9. “Hard Times for Recess.” David Bornstein, The New York Times Opinionator blog

10. “Hard Times for Recess.” David Bornstein, The New York Times Opinionator blog

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