First posted on 08-24-2012
We’ve become a society addicted to cleanliness. Grocery cart corrals have sanitizing wipes available, and hand sanitizers are at nearly every desk and in many purses. Not that cleanliness is all bad, but the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) says a little dirt is actually a good thing for children.
Building mud pies, splashing in puddles after a rain and digging for worms in the garden can help encourage children’s immune systems while getting them away from the television for a while. Today’s kids spend about seven hours each day tethered to computers, cell phones, video games and other forms of modern technology.
With the trade of technology over time spent outdoors, childhood obesity rates have doubled, and experts estimate that over 7.6 million children in the United States suffer from a Vitamin D deficiency.
Add a little dirt to the outdoors adventure and kids not only have a great time, they get away from being “too clean.” A recent study put together by the NWF shows that being overly clean could be an invitation for childhood allergies, asthma, and may even lead to type 1 diabetes later in life.
You can download a copy of the NWF report here. It’s not written in scientific jargon, but it does provide a lengthy bibliography of reports, books and statistics the NWF used to compile its report and reach its conclusions. The report is a quick read, and you can follow up on the details if you’d like.
Check it out, then take your children outside for some good, clean fun in the dirt!
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