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Outdoor Activities Make Teens Happier


Outdoor Activities Make Teens Happier

(epharmanews)- Teenagers are often annoyed when their parents ask them to spend less time playing video games and more doing outdoor activities. A new Australian study found that teens who engaged in in more moderate-to-vigorous outdoor activity reported better health and social functioning than their peers who spent hours in front of television and computer screens.

Researchers from the University of Sydney found that most participants spend an average of 3.3 hours a day playing video games, watching TV or any other activity that require no movement, while physical activity was limited to 2.2 hours a day. The teenagers who spent an average of 2.5 hours a day more than their less active peers had the highest perceived health in the study.

Dr. Bamini Gopinath, a senior research fellow at the university's Westmead Millennium Institute for Medical Research and the study’s lead author said the findings suggest that parents need to limit how much time their children spend using electronic media.

"Parents should be conscious of the fact that outdoor physical activity is beneficial to their child's overall health and well-being, and should try to limit the time their child spends in front of the screen," she added.

For the purpose of this research, participants answered questionnaires on how much time participants spent in outdoor exercises and indoor exercises (including: reading, computer use for entertainment or education). The data were collected at age 12, and again five years later. At that time, another group of 475 teenagers was recruited from the same schools in the Sydney area. Both groups responded to items about their health and general well-being. The questionnaire included 23 items about the teens' health and physical functioning, as well as self-esteem, peer relationships and school.

Researchers found that teens that spent more time reading and doing homework had better school results. However, Teens "who rarely exercised" were more likely to report "feelings of loneliness and shyness."

The results of this study, published in Pediatrics, were not surprising to the researchers. Dr. Michael Rich, director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children's Hospital, said: "It makes sense that these kids who are getting outside, playing sports and running around are going to feel better than those kids who are sitting alone with a screen,"

He cautioned against "over-interpreting" the results because other factors not looked at in the study "may have more influence." For example, he noted that the study did not show whether some teens avoided outdoor sports because they were less healthy to begin with.

The study gave "more objective data that supports what your mom always said, which is 'go outside and play,' proving mom was right," Rich added.


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Prepared by: Hasan Zaytoon


Source :

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