Kids Who Spend Time Outdoors Are Healthier
Jim LiebeltJim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
- 2014 Jul 16
Time spent outdoors was associated with increased moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness and decreased sedentary behavior among adolescents, according to study findings in The Journal of Pediatrics.
Lee Schaefer, PhD, of the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada, and colleagues assessed accelerometer and questionnaire data from 306 children aged 9 to 17 years who participated in the 2009 wave of the Healthy Hearts Prospective Cohort Study of Physical Activity and Cardiometabolic Health.
Overall, 17% of participants reported spending no time outdoors after school; 44% reported spending some time outdoors; and 39% reported spending most/all of their time outdoors.
As time spent outdoors increased, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity increased and sedentary time decreased. Children who reported spending no time outdoors had 21 fewer minutes of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and 70 additional minutes of sedentary time per day compared with children who spent most of their time outdoors.
Children who spent most of their time outside were 2.8 times more likely to spend 60 minutes or more doing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity vs. those who spent no time outdoors.
Children who spent most of their time outdoors accumulated less sedentary time, had greater cardiorespiratory fitness and achieved greater shuttle run scores compared with those who spent no time outdoors.