Study: Children spend 14 minutes outside each day

News 3, Dean Clinic launch Time For Kids "Explore The Outdoors" campaign

Study: Children spend 14 minutes outside each day

MADISON, Wis. - Abby Bachhuber started bringing 5-year-old Soleia to the Aldo Leopold Nature Center in the last year.

"This place made her fall in love with it," Bachhuber said.

Bachhuber said the family makes it a point to spend time outside, especially when it comes to gardening. She was shocked to hear studies show the average kid spends only 14 minutes outside every day.

"She knows so much about technology at this little tiny age. It's kind of painful to watch," Bachhuber said. "So the more we're outside, she's not thinking about any of that and it's not even a temptation."

Sierra Muñoz with the Aldo Leopold Nature Center said the statistic from "Changes in American Children's Time" is one she refers to often, but she's still startled by the fact that children ages 3 to 12 are only spending about 1 percent of their day outdoors. The same research showed those kids spent more than a quarter of their time on electronic devices.

"It's not always enough time to engage in the natural world and get all of the benefits that we know come from that experience," Muñoz said.

Dr. Megan Jensen with Dean Clinic agreed.

"I think closer to a couple of hours a day would be ideal," Jensen said.

Jensen said the limited time outside contributes to childhood obesity, early diabetes diagnoses and high blood pressure in kids. There are additional mental detriments to not spending enough time in nature as well, Jensen said. Those include limiting a child's creativity and cutting back on social interactions.

"Especially with being on computers and TVs, you're tending not to interact with other kids your age or even other people in general," Jensen said. "By being outdoors and not having that distraction, people are interacting with each other more and having better communication."

Stay with News 3 for the next year as we explain the physical and mental benefits of getting outside, as well as educational aspects and stewardship opportunities associated with exploring the outdoors.

Share pictures of time you spend outside on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #TFKoutdoors.

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