Kids who play outside, unsupervised, are more physically active

January 23, 2015 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

Submitted by Judy A, one of our fabulous reference librarians (and parent):

It appears that those of us who are “helicopter parents” are interfering with our children’s DPA (daily physical activity). A new Canadian study, reported in today’s Globe and Mail, says that children who are permitted to play outside unsupervised (alone or with friends) are more physically active than those who are always watched by a caregiver.

The study, published in the December 2014 issue of Urban Studies, surveyed more than 1,000 parents of grade 5 and 6 students in 16 Toronto public elementary schools and found that more than one third of parents never allow their children to play outdoors without supervision (yes, that was me back in the day). Only 16% of parents said they always or frequently let their children play and roam around independently. The children of those parents, not surprisingly, were up to 19% more physically active than their peers who were always supervised.

Words of wisdom from the study’s lead author, Raktim Mitra of Ryerson University: “Instead of constantly supervising your children, give your kids a chance to explore their neighbourhoods on their own. If you do that, your child can reap immense physical, social and mental health benefits down the road.”

Judy A.


Rowan – FYI, here are links to a couple of CBC items related to this:


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