Studies have shown that 6 million of our kids are Vitamin D deficient, primarily due to the lack of being outdoors in the sunshine and soaking up this needed vitamin naturally. Fortified milk and foods — along with supplements if they’re given to kids — can help alleviate that problem, but unfortunately there are more compelling reasons to stay indoors and play videogames, use the computer, and be virtually connected to friends vs. being with them outside playing.
A couple of summers ago my wife and I came back from our nightly hour walk around the lake and I stopped dead in my tracks about a block from home. It was a perfect evening, not a cloud in the sky and 75 degrees, and there were no kids outside playing! This in a neighborhood which, at the time, had dozens of kids between the ages of 4 and 15 years of age.
When my bride and I were growing up TV was the main electronic distraction but Mom & Dad usually had it tuned to their favorite station until later on when we both became multi-TV households. Even then, it seemed like there were so many other things to do that TV took a back seat to playing with friends. After dinner, we couldn’t wait to get outside and play with friends and in my neighborhood kick the can was the game of choice which we played for hours every day in the spring, summer and fall.
This is not a Luddite-type post since I’m a huge fan of technology, social media and virtual connections. Still, the overweight population continues to grow and we need to find the balance. Reading this blog, you’re probably someone who “gets” the power and usefulness of the accelerating change going on with the internet and web, but it’s an imperative that our kids continue to get their butts outside, drink in the sunshine and fresh air (and store up that Vitamin D!), connect with the earth and play.