Canadian kids aren’t playing outside enough, experts say, and it’s harming their health | Student Matrix
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Canadian kids aren’t playing outside enough, experts say, and it’s harming their health

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Canadian kids aren’t playing outside enough, experts say, and it’s harming their health

PrincessArmy

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Oct 7, 2019
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Kids are extremely unlikely to get kidnapped if they play outside. They’re also unlikely to be hit by a car, die by falling off a swing or otherwise face serious harm in the great outdoors, experts say.

They actually face more harm by spending all their time inside, according to Dr. Mark Tremblay, a senior scientist at the CHEO (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario) Research Institute. Indoors, the dangers come in the form of increased chances of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, lower bone mineral density, and mental health issues, he said.

Staying indoors
It’s a serious issue, according to Mariana Brussoni, an associate professor in the department of pediatrics at the University of British Columbia and an investigator at the B.C. Children’s Hospital Research Institute.

“What we see over time is that kids are playing outside less than previous generations and also have a much more constricted range of how far they wander from their home,” she said.

Her research explores injuries in kids and finds that parents tend to overestimate the risks.

“I have the injury stats, and what that show is that it’s never, ever been a safer time to be a child in Canada than it is right now.”

Seat belts and car seats actually made the biggest difference in children’s injury rates, she said, though kids are still killed most often while riding in a car — meaning that driving your kids to school is not the safer choice.

But it’s not just parents’ fears keeping kids at home, she said.

More people now live in urban areas and areas designed for cars, where they may be less likely to know their neighbors, she said. With more women working and fewer adults at home during the day, there’s less of a sense of “informal eyes on the street.”

Parents worry about giving their kids the best start in life, so they often sign their kids up for lots of extracurricular activities, cutting back the time they have for unsupervised play, she said.
 

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