Children’s Minnesota joined Gov. Tim Walz, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, the Minnesota Children’s Cabinet, and community advocates for the launch of a Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights – a call to action to the community and commitment by state government agencies to remove barriers and create opportunity for children to be outdoors. The event took place Friday, August 26 at the Minnesota State Fair.
“Our state is famous for our great outdoors – from beautiful city lakes to incredible Greater Minnesota lands – and as a teacher I know firsthand that being outside means healthier students with stronger academic performance,” said Governor Walz. “I’m proud of Minnesota’s public and private partners for coming together to commit to make opportunities for all Minnesota kids to enjoy our incredible outdoors and the benefits that come with it.”
“As the kid experts, we know that 80% of a child’s health happens outside of the walls of our hospitals and clinics. The majority of a child’s health happens where they live, learn and play,” said Dr. Marc Gorelick, president and CEO of Children’s Minnesota. “That’s why it’s important kids have easy access to outdoor spaces around their neighborhoods and their schools.”
The vision of the Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights is a state where all Minnesota children and families are inspired to engage with the natural world in ways that support physical health, mental well-being, creativity and appreciation for nature. Children’s Minnesota is among the initial partners in this effort; committed to furthering these rights.
“The first time I really made a connection with the benefits of nature was during my medical training. I spent so many hours in classrooms, libraries and hospitals for 10 years of graduate medical education that I began to appreciate simply escaping outdoors for short breaks to recharge. I became fascinated with the science behind possible nature benefits. It turns out that exposure to nature really is associated with a host of mental and physical health benefits,” described Dr. Molly Sajady, a physician in Children’s Minnesota’s Development Pediatrics program.
During the event, Dr. Sajady shared the following five benefits of nature:
- Supports balance and coordination by strengthening small muscle groups.
- Improves vitamin D levels necessary for bone growth and health.
- Prevents near sightedness in children.
- Kids are two to three times more physically active when outside compared to inside.
- Increases creativity and decreases stress and conflict.
You can learn more about the Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights, including the 15 rights, at this website: mn.gov/children-outdoors.