Do you notice a disconnect between the natural world and our daily life? Do you wonder why obesity is quickly becoming our country’s biggest health issue? Questions like these prompted author Richard Louv to coin the term “nature-deficit disorder” in response to the growing problems that stem from society’s dependence on the indoors. The concept that we need to unplug and spend more time outdoors is not a recent development; botanical educators have been sounding the same anthem for decades.
Why is it important to connect to our natural world? Can’t we just learn what we need from the Discovery Channel or our iPad?
While it may seem frivolous to schedule “outdoor time,” researchers are finding that it can contribute to our physical and mental health, especially in children. It has been found that children who have access to and utilize outdoor spaces are less likely to exhibit symptoms of attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, have less anxiety and improved balance skills. They are also less likely to become overweight and are able to cope with stressful situations better than children who do not have outdoor experiences.
How can we overcome nature-deficit disorder? Believe it or not, pediatricians are now prescribing “nature” to their patients who are struggling with obesity and other health issues. Garden strolls and retreats to natural areas have long been used by physicians to help their patients.
You don’t have to wait for a doctor to tell you to…
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