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Format: 04/19/2014
Format: 04/19/2014

News

Beaver County Times: Summertime snooze: Some health experts say kids' bodies, minds suffer from sedentary habits

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

By Larissa Theodore

Times Staff

When Ryan Suchanec was a child, not a summer day passed when he wasn’t out riding bikes or playing with friends.

“We were outside from sunup to sundown,” said Suchanec of Brighton Township.

That was then. Today, Suchanec said, his 13-year-old son spends plenty of summer days indoors, mostly enjoying Internet games. Suchanec said his teen even plays simultaneously with his friends, who communicate on headsets.

“He can play video games from the comfort of his own bedroom,” Suchanec said.

But some physicians believe today’s generation is losing the more active ways of the past — when summer meant running through the backyard sprinkler, making mudpies or catching frogs — activities they say are still essential to a child’s development and overall well-being.

In fact, some physicians say a lack of free-range play could lead toward depression, a lack of social skills, or worse, aggression and violence.

LEARNING THROUGH INTERACTION

“I think it’s important for kids to be able to hang out, be with their friends, make mistakes, get into conflict and be able to solve that conflict,” said Dr. Anthony Mannarino, vice president of the department of psychiatry at Allegheny General Hospital. “If you don’t have the opportunities to learn, as adults you don’t know how to deal with confrontation. You think it’s the end of the world.”

Suzanne Yunghans, executive director of the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said there is evidence that shows staying indoors isn’t always the healthiest thing.

“When they’re sitting in their rooms online or watching TV, they’re not getting exercise, which is obviously reflected in the obesity rates we see in kids today.”

To read more, visit the Beaver County Times web site.

 

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