Healthy Children Healthy Spaces

Healthy Children Healthy Spaces

November 15, 2010 08:00 ET

Are We Raising Healthy Kids?

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 15, 2010) - In an age when families worry about safety, childhood obesity, over usage of technology, and our environment, are there simpler ways to preserve and protect children's health than otherwise thought? A conference being held at the Museum of Nature on November 14-16, "Healthy Children, Healthy Spaces" [HCHS] will discuss how children's healthy development, well-being and quality of life are intricately related to the natural spaces around them as well as their freedom to experience reasonable risk through active, outdoor play.

As a strategic and action-based forum, the conference will explore the roles that outdoor spaces, risk, perceptions of risk and liability, and access to safe, inspiring outdoor play have on the health of our children and communities. Outcomes will address existing barriers in an effort to increase access to healthy, natural spaces that foster opportunities for every child to learn, live, and play outside.

Active Healthy Kids Canada believes that evidence supports the importance of children connecting to nature and spending time outdoors and has recently announced its intention to include a grade for "nature and outdoor time" on their 2011 Report Card. There will be a workshop within the HCHS conference to begin identifying evidence to inform the new nature and outdoor time grade. "Entertaining electronic media are progressively enticing children indoors while emerging research shows the health benefits of spending time outdoors and connecting to nature. The addition of a grade for nature and outdoor time will be an important addition to the Report Card" says Dr. Mark Tremblay, Chief Scientific Officer, Active Healthy Kids Canada, and Director of Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research at the CHEO Research Institute.

The concept behind this conference stems from the critical health issues facing young people and the child and nature movement which originated from a widely publicized book called, "Last Child in the Woods," by Richard Louv. Since this movement has gained momentum within the US and Canada, there are a growing number of individuals, organizations, and communities who are acknowledging that cultural and political shifts need to take place to move people away from their screens and into the outdoors.

HCHS conference is a joint initiative of the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada, KidActive, Carp Ridge Learning Centre, and International Play Association Canada. All organizations are engaged in work that promotes children having greater access to outdoor play.

Healthy Children / Healthy Spaces: Museum of Nature, November 14–16, 2010

Contact Information

  • KidActive
    Shawna Babcock
    Executive Director
    The Child and Nature Alliance
    Becs Hoskins
    Executive Director
    Marlene Power-Johnston
    Founder, Carp Ridge Forest Preschool
    Advocate, Early Childhood Environmental Education