Not quite nutrition but the campaign includes reduction in obesity as part of its mission statement and getting young people active in the outdoors and appreciating nature is something close to my heart – well you would expect support for this campaign from a cub leader really!!
In brief, the company Muddy Puddles that produces outdoor waterproof clothing for children is pitching for a Virgin pot of money to start a campaign to get kids spending more time outdoors.
“Research commissioned by Muddy Puddles, a leading UK children’s outdoor clothing brand, in partnership with Your Baby Club, found 65% of respondents felt brands should be doing more to get children outdoors. 39% of parents also felt they struggle to find ideas of what to do outdoors with their children, with 19% fearing that their children spend too much time watching TV and on technology*. With recent results from the WHO** showing that nearly a quarter of British children under the age of 5 fall into the overweight/obese category, and the National Wildlife Federation showing that children are spending 50% more time indoors than 30 years ago, and 28 hours a week looking at screens…”
It is such a shame that so many kids are not getting more of the freedom that being outdoors brings. Just a big field and a ball, a bit of woodland to build dens in or go bug hunting, the joy of finding a good stick and filling pockets with stones, feathers, conkers and the like. jumping in puddles and getting muddy…..and generally these things are free. Such a shame that parents worry about what to do outdoors with their kids, take kids outdoors and they will find things to do – watch them and join in.
Soft play indoor areas or going to a good park or a nature reserve or a patch of woodlands? There is just no comparison. A child’s imagination is better stimulated outdoors with a bit of nature and the beauty of being outside is that it is ever changing with the weather and the seasons. There is no such thing as bad weather just bad kit and decent kit need not be expensive either. Being in touch with nature helps to engender a desire to protect it – if our young people do not appreciate nature then they grow up to be adults less committed to ecology and sustainability.
Unfortunately, too many urban areas don’t have good quality, safe outdoor spaces and we need to fight to protect those we have. Also, there are lots of hidden gems of outdoor space that people don’t know exist – tucked away close to where they live.
If we want to tackle obesity and a whole range of health issues, including mental health, we need to get people active and outdoors, particularly getting young people to get a love for the outdoors and exercise that will last a lifetime. Lack of exercise that we are seeing in children now is a ticking time bomb and the negative effects on long term health are numerous. Combine lack of exercise with a highly refined diet high in salt, fat and sugar and low intake of fibre, micronutrients and plant based foods then we will see a generation that will not live as long as their parents or grandparents. We will see a continuation of the trend of conditions like type 2 diabetes affecting younger adults and affecting their quality of life massively.
So I have supported this pitch and I will add a little one of my own – if you want to get your kids outdoors then get them involved in Scouting and while you are at it join in yourself!! You will benefit from Scouting as much as your children!