The data shows that it’s difficult to make a definitive statement on whether children are ill more often today than 20 years ago. Many parents today are too afraid NOT to take their children to the doctors at the first glimpse of illness.
Advances in medical technology and treatments may have led to improved diagnosis and treatment of certain health conditions, which could make it appear that children are ill more often than they were in the past.
However, there are some observations and research studies that suggest that certain health conditions in children have increased in recent years. For example, the incidence of obesity, type 2 diabetes and autism has been on the rise in children in many parts of the world. This is likely due to stress and changes in diet together with lifestyle factors such as increased sedentary behaviour and decreased physical activity.
Additionally, there has been a significant increase in mental health issues such as anxiety and depression among children in recent years. Whilst some experts attribute this to the pandemic, the most likely culprit is social media use, increased exposure to stressful events in the news and internet gaming disorder.
However, other studies show that the health of the latest generation is declining because they are not playing outdoors often enough. Non-exposure to nature has been shown to have a negative effect on health — just as exposure to nature has been shown to have a positive effect on health.
Benefits of Playing In Nature
Encouraging kids to play in nature rather than spending all their time indoors on computers, TVs and smartphones can have several benefits.
Playing in nature allows children to engage in physical activities such as climbing, running, and exploring, which can improve their overall health and fitness levels. In contrast, sitting in front of a computer for extended periods can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, which can have negative health consequences
Spending time in nature can also have positive effects on children’s mental health. Being outdoors can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood and self-esteem, and promote feelings of calm and relaxation. In contrast, excessive screen time can contribute to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
Creativity and imagination are stimulated by nature’s wide variety of textures, colours, and sounds that can inspire children to create and explore. In contrast, spending time on computers can limit children’s creativity and imagination by providing pre-designed environments and activities.
You can also stimulate your offspring’s imagination and engage their inquisitive minds in learning by creating games which involve search and discovery. Ironically, apps are smartphones are good for this, but at least you’re using technology outdoors and not indoors. Check out this article from Sweatcoin for more ideas about how to entertain kids in nature walks.
Environmental awareness can help children develop a greater appreciation and respect for Mother Nature. They can learn about the importance of conservation and sustainability, and develop a sense of responsibility for protecting the natural world.