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News Center Items by Richard Louv

Too Much Reading Makes Children Short-sighted, Say Experts

Dr. Clare Quigley, an opthalmologist at Galway University Hospital, conducted a study researching the lifestyles and health of 8,568 nine-year-olds. The study results found a strong connection between myopia and a sedentary lifestyle. Until now myopia has been seen mainly as a genetic condition but new research is now able to not only confirm, but quantify, how ‘nearwork’ can damage children’s vision. 

Survey: Parents Would Like Their Children to Play Outside More Often

A recent survey of more than 2,000 parents and children throughout the UK, Europe, and Japan found that children spend between 15-20 hours indoors on an average weekend. The survey, conducted by the company Clip ‘n Climb, also found that 90% of parents surveyed would like their children to play outside more.

Group Seeks Playground Equity in Baltimore

Kaboom, a nonprofit that has helped build 3,100 playgrounds in schools and parks across the U.S., is conducting an equity study in Baltimore to ensure any new playgrounds it installs are built where they are needed most rather than just in places that apply. Focusing its efforts on schools and prioritizing racial equity, Kaboom aims “to make sure every kid has access to a safe, great play space.”

Amid Population Growth and Historic Divides, Austin Organizations Work Toward Park Equity

Together with a number of local nonprofits, the city of Austin, Texas is working to improve park equity with a number of newly completed projects spanning sections of the city that have historically been split along racial and socioeconomic lines. Improving park access is a goal of the city and its parks and recreation department, which has focused on equity in a number of its policies and departments.

Canadian Kids Aren’t Playing Outside Enough, Experts Say, and It’s Harming Their Health

Children in Canada are playing outside less than previous generations with a recent Statistics Canada report finding that children between the ages of five and 17 had an average of three hours of screen time per day. Experts also warn that children have a much more constricted range of how far they wander from their home. In response, some experts have formed a new group, Outdoor Play Canada, that aims to get kids spending more time outside.

Austin Parks Department Receives Grant to Study Health, Climate Change

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has awarded the Austin Parks and Recreation Department a grant to study whether worsening heat decreases opportunities for physical activity and reduces the overall emotional well-being of young people. The two-year project is a collaboration between the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, the Michael and Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, the National League of Cities & Children and Nature Network’s Cities Connecting Children to Nature Initiative and the Austin school district.

Living Near a Coast Is Linked With Better Mental Health, Study Suggests

According to a new study published in the journal Health & Place, living near the ocean is significantly linked with better mental health among urban adults in England. Using data from the annual Health Survey for England, the study compared people’s health with their proximity to the coast, from those living within half of a mile of the ocean to those more than 31 miles away. The effect found in this study appeared only in people from the lowest-income households.

London to be the World’s First National Park City

London is poised to become the world’s first ‘National Park City’ that aims to make life greener, healthier and wilder for residents. According to a new charter by the National Park City Foundation (NPCF), London seeks to push citizens toward building a better relationship with the city’s green spaces and urban wildlife via activities, events, capacity building, awareness programs and responsible consumption strategies. The charter is also likely to guide urban planning, as it shares London mayor Sadiq Khan’s vision “to make 50% of London physically green by 2050.”

Learning in Nature: Washington Becomes First in the Country to License Outdoor Preschools

Washington State has become the first state in the country to officially license outdoor preschools. Until recently, no outdoor preschools in the United States were licensed, which meant they couldn’t offer full-day programs or offer state financial assistance to families.
The new status of outdoor preschools in Washington will increase access for more families, encouraging more children to spend time in nature.

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