Entries in Outdoors (2)


Too Few Kids Getting Outdoors with Mom or Dad

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- Nearly half of all U.S. preschool-age children don’t get outdoors at least once a day for parent-supervised playtime, researchers reported Monday, causing concern among experts who say early exercise habits could protect children from obesity later in life.

Many children might not be getting enough outdoor exercise because of barriers faced by single parents and families with two working parents, said Dr. Pooja Tandon, a pediatrician with the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, who led the research.

It might also come down to a “cultural shift as to how families spend their time,” Tandon said, citing all the gadgets and screen time occupying everyone in the house.  “There may be missed opportunities for kicking those kids outside the door when it’s appropriate and safe.”

Tandon also said that the lack of daily outdoor exercise among preschool children (defined here as those in the year before kindergarten) also might stem from parents assuming “that young children are spending their day running around, that they’re active,” she said, suggesting that some day-care centers and babysitters are not getting children outside often enough, or for long enough, to meet the 60 minutes of daily exercise recommended by the National Association for Sports and Physical Activity.

The reasons child-care providers are not be meeting these recommendations might be diverse, including  ”some real, some perceived,” Tandon said.  Yesterday’s rain should not prevent an outdoor outing today, she said.  And, she added, “Some child-care providers say children didn’t bring a jacket or they wore flip-flops.  Depending on staffing, maybe the class doesn’t go outside. ”

The good news, Tandon said, is that “these young children are naturally programmed to be active if given the opportunities.”

Tandon’s study, which appeared online Monday on the website of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, was based on parental surveys from a national study of nearly 9,000 U.S. children, a sample size representing about 4 million children.  The children, all born in 2001, were followed for several years and their parents, usually mothers, were interviewed several times, including the year before their children entered kindergarten.

Along with finding that 49 percent of children were not getting outdoors with a parent at least once every day, she and her colleagues from the research institute and the University of Washington found that those youngsters whose parents took them outdoors to play tended to be boys, children with lots of playmates and those whose parents were exercisers.

Children more often fell short of recommended exercise if their mothers were Asian, African-American or Hispanic, although the study didn’t delve into the reasons.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Father and Son Both Victims of Lightning, 48 Years Apart

Ablestock/Thinkstock(HAMMONTON, N.J.) -- A New Jersey man followed the tragic fate of his own father 48 years ago when he was struck dead by lightning during a weekend barbecue with his family.

On Thursday, family members said 500 people from the tight-knit Hammonton, N.J. community attended the funeral to mourn the death of Stephen Rooney, 54, who was "well-known" and a "real nice guy," according to the town's Chief of Police Robert Jones.

On July 3, Rooney, and 25 members of his extended family took part in the "normal Fourth of July kind of antics," at a weekend barbecue -- a 30-year family tradition at Rooney's residence at 59 Plymouth Road.

As was customary, the family set up their picnic around a tree that was "two and a half, at least three stories tall" when storm clouds rolled in. Rooney's cousin Scott Digerolamo who attended the picnic said, "A bunch of ladies and kids went inside and five of us stayed outside to smoke a cigar." When family members implored the men to come inside the house, Rooney assured them that "lightning never strikes the same family twice."

Minutes later Rooney snuck behind the tree to light his cigar when the tree was struck by a bolt of lightning.

After local medical personnel attempted CPR, Rooney was flown to University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia where he died five days later on July 8.

Forty-eight years ago, the same fate befell his father.

Rooney was 6 years old when his father went fishing by himself in Fortescue, N.J.

"When he got out of the water, he started cleaning the fish with his knife," Digerolamo said. "The knife was like a conductor -- the lightning directly struck the knife."

The senior Rooney was killed immediately.

According to Steven Hodanish, senior meteorologist in Pueblo, Colorado at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service, lightning can strike the same place twice.

According to NOAA's National Weather Service, 55 victims of lightning strikes die on average in the United States each year. Hodanish said that the victims tend to be male because they are typically outside and "young men tend to be more, 'it won't happen to me' so to speak, so they won't seek safety as early as they should."

While taller structures are usually hit by lightning during a storm, Hodanish emphasized that people should move indoors during a thunderstorm or to the nearest vehicle with a metal top.

"Stay away. Don't even seek shelter near trees," he said. "It sounds simple but when thunder roars, go indoors."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio