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RESOLUTION FOR 2013: Open the Door and Connect Kids & Families with Nature

NHCINC_logoCONCORD, N.H. - As the new year approaches, a statewide  coalition hopes parents and child caregivers think about this as a resolution:  Connect children with the great outdoors in 2013. They'll love it and it's  great for them!

The NH Children in Nature Coalition has released a new  report, Opening Doors to Happier, Healthier Lives, which outlines  recommendations for connecting kids with nature in New Hampshire. The  coalition's seven goals - starting with getting kids outside to enjoy the great  outdoors - are endorsed and welcomed by Susan E. Lynch, MD, New Hampshire's  First Lady.

"As a pediatric lipid specialist and as New Hampshire's  First Lady, I am very interested in working to encourage children to lead a  healthy, active lifestyle as a preventative measure against childhood obesity,"  Lynch said. "This emphasis on the importance of the health and physical  activity of our children is equally represented and championed by the great  work of the NH Children in Nature Coalition.   This coalition demonstrates the importance of outdoor activities and learning  experiences while utilizing New Hampshire's rich and diverse natural  resources."

This is a great time to make a resolution for children,  according to Marilyn Wyzga of the NH Children in Nature Coalition and the NH  Fish and Game Department. "Looking ahead to all the possibilities of a new  year, let's make a resolution for our children," Wyzga said. "Whether you're a  parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher or any caregiver for kids: Encourage  your children to play outside. Let them explore. Let them play in the snow,  jump over a log, build a fort. It doesn't have to be a formal activity; just  enjoy a little time out each day. Open the door and let them play."

With today's children watching screens an average of 54  hours a week, the consequences are obesity and sedentary lifestyles, deepening  misconceptions about the natural world, and less emphasis on unstructured time  outdoors, according to the Coalition's report. "The price of continuing these  trends is serious, not only for children and their families, but for our  communities, our schools, our culture, our economy, and the identity of the  Granite State."

In New Hampshire, 71 percent of children ages 6 to 17 and  53 percent of high school students do not get enough physical activity,  according to the NH Department of Health and Human Services. And it's no  coincidence that 32 percent of children ages 6 to 12 are overweight or obese.  Combined, excess weight and lack of physical activity are risk factors for  asthma, diabetes, hypertension and other chronic illnesses that burden the  state's health care system and lead to lost productivity.

Nationally, the amount of outside space where children  are allowed to roam free around their homes is one-ninth what it was in 1970.

Yet, research shows that the benefits of embracing an  active, outdoor lifestyle are many, and that children who spend time outdoors  are healthier and more creative, have better concentration, and even get better  grades.

The good news is that this can be done easily in New  Hampshire, and at little cost. In fact, New Hampshire is well positioned to  lead the nation in promoting a healthy, active lifestyle that takes advantage  of all the natural beauty, outdoor opportunities, and facilities our state  offers - attributes that already help make tourism one of the state's most  important economic engines.

The coalition - representing agencies and organizations  from diverse health, education and conservation disciplines - supports seven  goals:

1. Increase participation in outdoor learning experiences  for children and families.     2. Urge more children and families to get outside on a  regular basis.     3. Ensure that every child has the opportunity to  experience nature in his or her local community.     4. Provide children with more time for free play outdoors.     5. Increase appreciation and care of the outdoors through  organized activities and groups.     6. Improve the health, fitness, and well-being of New  Hampshire children.     7. Deepen the understanding of the natural world among  children and youth.

For more information about the N.H. Children in Nature  Coalition and how you can make a resolution to reconnect children, youth and  families with nature, visit

Taken from the NH Fish and Game Website

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