More sleep, more play
Children who get more
than nine hours and 45 minutes sleep a night have a significantly lower
of being obese in later life, according to the University of Michigan.
Every additional hour of
sleep each night that a child has at the age of eight or nine,
reduces the risk of obesity at age 11 or 12
by 40 per cent. Dr Lumeng who
led the research said scientists were not certain how sleep would
directly affect a child's weight, but added that
well-rested children are more energetic and more likely
to go out and play,
rather than lie around watching TV.
Green Play Settings Reduce ADHD Symptoms
Two surveys of parents of children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity
Disorder have shown that
performing activities in green settings can reduce
the symptoms of ADHD. In an initial, Midwestern-based study, parents
more likely to nominate activities that typically occur in outdoor green
settings as being best for their childs
symptoms and those that typically
occur in indoor or non-green outdoor areas as worst. Also, parents rated
childs symptoms as better on average after activities that occur in
green settings than after activities in non-green
settings. In the
subsequent, nation-wide study, activities such as reading or playing sports
were reported as improving
childrens symptoms more when performed in
outdoor green settings than in non-green settings.
up to 7% of children. Those afflicted have chronic difficulty
paying attention and focusing on tasks and can be impulsive,
and sometimes aggressive. These behaviors often result in family conflict,
peer rejection, and academic
failure. Current treatments, drugs and
behavioral therapy, do not work in all cases and in many cases offer only
relief. Adding trees and greenery near homes and schools and
encouraging kids with ADHD to go outside may help supplement
treatments to improve functioning.
University of Illinois Human-Environment Research:
Green Play Settings Reduce ADHD Symptoms. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Landscape and Human Health Laboratory
Play and Health
There is increasing concern about the mental and
physical health of children and young people.
At the same time there is growing evidence from among
health professionals and researchers that play makes a significant contribution to the fitness and well-being of children.
suggests that given the opportunity, children get wide-ranging exercise as well as significant mental health benefits from
freely chosen play.
develops strength, co-ordination, balance and risk-taking ability, as well as confidence and self-esteem;
running and chasing games develop fitness, stamina and agility;
- jumping and running
develop bone density;
- fantasy play can be a way of children making sense of difficult
or distressing aspects of their life;
- play can be fun and relaxing, a way of relieving
or having time away from anxiety and stress.
When playing, children and young people do not have to conform
to adult agendas.
Children play instinctively whenever they are given the chance, but not
all children choose to, or are able to, participate in sports activities. Given the opportunity, the time, and a stimulating
and challenging play environment, most children and young people will engage in beneficial physical activity.