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Group Urging MO Kids to 'Take It Outside'

August 3, 2009

ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Summer break in Missouri will be over in the next couple of weeks and research shows that despite bright, sunny days outside, too many kids are inside, glued to TV and video games. Kevin Coyle with the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) says kids spend half as much time outdoors today as they did just two decades ago.

"On a Saturday afternoon, you really won't see any kids outdoors. They're all indoors. That's a really new phenomenon."

NWF spokesman Curtis Fisher suggests why it is that over the past 20 years the number of hours children spend outside has fallen by 50 percent.

"The time the average child spends plugged into electronic media every day has grown to more than six hours a day. This is a significant issue across our society and it affects everyone, in urban areas, suburban areas and rural areas."

NWF has been working nationally to raise awareness about the importance of children spending more time outside. Fisher says it can be as simple as just exploring and observing nature, whether it's in the back yard or in one of the many parks throughout the state of Missouri.

"Research indicates that kids that play outside are more physically active, more creative, less aggressive, and they develop a lifelong appreciation of nature."

NWF is encouraging kids and families to spend at least an hour a day playing outside. Outdoor groups in Missouri offer a variety of summer programs that teach children how to get acquainted with nature through hiking, swimming, bird watching and fishing.

Heather Claybrook, Public News Service - MO