Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Facts

I've been divorced for about four years and have a five year old son(call him Ace) with my ex-wife. I fought for more custody when he was a baby and won a significant addition to the tradional "every other weekend" and "Wed. night" routine. I remarried and we have two year twins(we'll call them Duece and Trey) and one(Baby Bean) on the way. Sorry for the brief history, but there is a point.

Ace is a great kid. His mother and I have worked hard to keep him out of our differences. However, when we have Ace, he has to do something extremely unfamiliar...play outside. Ace and I have this little thing we do when the question "Why" comes up and at his age its' extremely often. This is a typical scenerio...
Dad says "Go play outside"
Ace reply "Why"
Dad reply "Because I said so"
Ace says "I want to play with legos in my room"
Dad says "But, YOU do not make the rules. Who makes the rules?"
Ace says "You make the rules"
Dad says "Why"
Ace says "Because you're the big daddy"
There is more to it...hugs, kisses, loves, and a swat on the cheeks before he goes outside, but you get the point. As a parent, you make the rules.

Enough about me...here are the facts we are faced with today.

  1. More than a third of American children and adolescents—17 million—are obese or at risk for obesity. Half of overweight children remain overweight as adults.
  2. 60% of obese 5- to 10-year-old children already have at least one risk factor for heart disease.
  3. The number of kids living with a chronic disease has more than quadrupled since 1960up from 1.8% to nearly 8%.
  4. The number of Americans diagnosed with diabetes, including children, has risen at an alarming rate over the past 50 years, from 1.5 million to 17.9 million.
  5. A 2003 survey, published in the journal Psychiatric Services, found the rate at which American children are prescribed antidepressants almost doubled in five years.
  6. In 1969, 50% of U.S. children walked or biked to school. In 2004, less than 13% did.
  7. The area in which children are free to roam has shrunk by 89% in the past 20 years.
  8. After 50 years of steady increases, per capita visits to U.S. national parks declined by 25% from 1987 to 2003.
  9. Nature-based recreation as a whole has been declining every year since the 1980s, for a total decline of roughly 25%.
  10. The U.S. loses one million acres of forest each year. The U.S. Forest Service reports that we have lost 13 million forestland acres since 1992 and estimates that 23 million more will be gone by 2050.

We had better start now or we'll lose the fight...do all you can.

Statistics found at the National Forum on Children and Nature

7 comments:

Cory Glauner said...

It blows my mind how many kids just never play outside. I'm like you. If they're not playing outside, I send them out.

Albert A Rasch said...

TWS,

Great post that I may refer to in one of mine. Unbelievable, and then folks wonder why their kids have allergies.

Regards,
Albert A Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
Proud Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit
Southeast Regional OBS Coordinator

Live to Hunt.... said...

I completely agree. The notion of outside play is one of the greatest losses in our communities.

Deer Passion said...

Oh sheesh.. When I was in middle school, I had several kids that I babysat for that refused to go outside and play. Instead they wanted to watch cartoons all day. It drove me nuts! I'm glad to see some parents reminding their kids to go play outdoors!

Mike Christensen said...

Unfortunately, many of our children come from homes that don't provide them opportunities to play outside.

I had one youngster in our program that wasn't allowed to play in his own backyard...mom was fearful of dogs (pit bulls, rotweilers) and drive-by shootings. Obviously, this kid lived in a rough part of town.

The Pass It On works to give kids like these an opportunity to have a mentor who will share time outdoors with them.

Mike Christensen
Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors, Inc.

Kristine said...

I remember playing outside all day, every day when I was young. There was a bunch of kids in our neighborhood and we all played together. If it was nice, we were out, our parents wouldn't have it any other way.

It seems odd that kids don't do that as much any more.

Rod McBellanic said...

Times have changed though. Mike brings up points I never had to deal with...drive-bys and crackheads.
I would leave in the morning and not come home until dinner time. Do that today and you'll have an Amber Alert.
Thanks for all your comments. Keep working to make a difference.