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Play for health

Health challenges in childhood today

Around the world parents, professionals and politicians are worried about the decline in children’s health. Today, children struggling with being overweight actually outnumber those facing famine. The sedentary lifestyles of our children have drastic consequences – not only for their physical health but even for their learning, social and emotional skills. This publication is intended as a source of inspiration for bringing outdoor play back into the lives of children as a means of dealing with some of the pressing health issues, and not solely on the physical level: by being physically active, by playing outdoors regularly, children increase their physical skills and also their emotional, social and learning skills.

Playgrounds: frameworks for health and life skills 

In the quest to improve children’s health it is all too easy to overlook the obvious: Children actually enjoy being active! 

If children are given a well-equipped play area in the right location, it is hard to keep them away. And the great side effect of this kind of pleasure is the fact that while they play they are burning off energy.

By increasing the areas with free access to free play activity and non-prescriptive play, we offer our children the possibility of being physically active without  having to compete and be instructed. Furthermore we stimulate their creativity, their social abilities and their self-esteem this way. Playgrounds are frameworks for health as well as for life skills.

• During the last 30 years European children’s physical performance in speed, endurance and strength has declined by 10-12%

• 50-75% of the 11-15yearolds are not physically active the recommended one hour a day

• 60% of adult Europeans are not moderate physically active the recommended half an hour a day

• European boys are generally more physically active than the girls

• Being overweight is defined as a BMI (Body Mass Index) of over 25

• In Europe, at least 3 million children are seriously overweight