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Your Health: Nature-deficit disorder

Your Health: Nature-deficit disorder
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 5:29 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Studies show children are spending more time indoors and less time outside. It’s a phenomenon some experts have dubbed nature-deficit disorder.

Children playing outside may seem like a normal occurrence, but research shows it’s happening much less often. One recent survey found half of all children spend less than an hour outdoors daily -- which is less time than prison inmates do. In fact, inmates at maximum security prisons in the U.S. are guaranteed at least two hours outdoors each day. This lack of outdoor time is denying children of vital time in nature, causing them to become nature deficient.

“Being in nature helps to decrease cortisol levels, it decreases stress levels, helps to improve overall health,” said Dr. Laurie Bostick Cammon. “There’s a relationship between how many trees are in your neighborhood and how healthy you are.”

Studies also show more time spent outdoors can lessen symptoms of behavioral disorders in children. So how can you coax your kid into going outside? Visit local parks and playgrounds as often as you can. Limit screen time so they will look to other activities. Invest in outdoor items -- like sidewalk chalk, bubbles or balls -- to encourage play.

Also, take family time outdoors. Go for a short walk or bike ride every evening.

“We can’t make big changes, but we can start making small changes,” Bostick Cammon said.

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