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Playing Outside Makes Kids Happier, Healthier And Smarter (But 7 Minutes A Day Isn't Enough)

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Despite evidence that children who play and learn outside are healthier, happier and smarter, the average child today spends just four to seven minutes playing outside every day.

Research suggests that a lack of exposure to the great outdoors can lead to a number of maladies, from obesity and vitamin deficiency to ADHD, anxiety and depression.

Insufficient time spent in the natural world is also linked to weakened ecological literacy and environmental stewardship.

While not a medical diagnosis, the phrase "nature-deficit disorder" has been used to describe the consequences of human alienation from nature. 

What factors contribute to the epidemic of inactivity afflicting children today, and what can be done to reverse society's nature deficiency?

How can parents and caregivers provide a safe and fulfilling outdoor experience for children? 


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Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.
Jan Ross Piedad Sakian is TPR’s News Operations Producer. In this role, she develops strategy on collaborative and digital initiatives for the station. Since 2016, Jan Ross has served in a coordinating capacity for TPR’s state and national partners, including The Texas Newsroom.