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Friends get kids off the couch; the outdoors helps them be more active, study suggests

Hanging out with friends can make kids less sedentary, but having inviting outdoor spaces and nearby parks can help them be more physically active, according to new research.

hero_image_alt_text===Girl paying outside at a park
thumbnail_alt_text===Girl playing outside at a park

With obesity rates in children on the rise a recent study shows the importance for kids to enjoy the outdoors and how encouraging friendships can be in creating momentum for getting outside and playing. Friendships and getting together outside can hemp kids get the recommended 60 minutes of moderate exercise per day and cut back on screen time. 

“We tend to think of sedentary behavior and physical activity as the opposite sides of a coin but in fact they’re not quite linked in that way,” said Dr. Stephen Daniels, chairman of the department of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

“Kids really like being involved with their friends and being involved with their families,” said Daniels, a pediatrician-in-chief and chair of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Colorado. He did not take part in the study. “If those engagements can focus on not being sedentary but being active, that’s a huge plus.”Physical education does show improvements overall, but it is also important for kids to have safe routes to parks and sports fields.

Parents often do not let their kids play in or travel to parks alone if there are safety concerns. Having complete streets for kids and families to travel on increases the comfort for people to enjoy the outdoors, in inadvertently improving their overall health. 

To read more about the recommendations and results from this recent study visit blog post here.

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