Thursday January 17, 2019

Make your kids play outdoors to boost their eyesight

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Make your kids play outdoors to boost their eyesight
Make your kids play outdoors to boost their eyesight. wikimedia commons

London, Dec 28, 2017: Worried that your kid’s eyesight might deteriorate because of endless hours spent on smartphones, gaming consoles, computers and tablets? Take heart, spending just two hours a day outdoors, playing any sport in the sunlight, might help, experts suggest.

Myopia — also known as nearsightedness and shortsightedness — is a condition of the eye where the light that enters the eye does not directly focus on the retina, but in front of it.

 This causes the image that one sees — when looking at a distant object — to be out of focus. It does not affect focus when looking at a close object.

According to experts, lack of natural light is the key behind the condition.

“The main factor seems to be a lack of exposure to direct sunlight, because children who study a lot and who use computers or smartphones or tablet computers a lot have less opportunity to run around outside and are less exposed to sunshine,” Annegret Dahlmann-Noor, consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, was quoted as saying to BBC Health.

While stopping or limiting screen time use may be a big task for parents, the best thing to do, say the experts, is to get children playing outside as much as possible.

“We know that myopia or short-sightedness is becoming more common,” Chris Hammond, professor at King’s College London, was quoted as saying to BBC Health.

“Protective of myopia development is time outdoors — sport and leisure outdoors are protective of eyesight,” Hammond said.

“Probably on average across the week and the weekend, two hours a day outdoors is protective of becoming short-sighted in children,” he noted.

Further, a diet rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, and vitamins A, C and E and nutrients are good for the back of the eye.

Regular annual eye checks can also help, experts suggested. (IANS)

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Nature Therapy Can Reduce Distress, Behavioural Problems in Kids

The results give a new possibility for investigating the link between the outdoor environment and well-being in pre-school children

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Being closer to nature Can Reduce Distress, Behavioural Problems in Kids. Pixabay

Does your child often feel stressed and depressed? A walk in the woods is likely to improve his/her mood, researchers said.

The study, led by a team from the University of Hong Kong, revealed that children who developed a closer connection with nature had less distress, less hyperactivity and had a healthy lifestyle with regard to active play and eating habits.

They also had fewer behavioural and emotional difficulties, as well as improved pro-social behaviour.

However, despite the extensive, adjacent greenness, many families are not using these areas, the researchers rued in the paper published in the PLOS ONE journal.

“We noticed a tendency where parents are avoiding nature. They perceive it as dirty and dangerous, and their children unfortunately pick up these attitudes,” said Tanja Sobko from the University’s School of Biological Sciences.

Kids play skip rope on Morro Strand State Beach. Flickr

In addition, the green areas are often unwelcoming with signs like “Keep off the grass”, Sobko added.

Recent research shows that spending time with nature may bring many health benefits, and many environmental programmes around the world are trying to decrease ‘nature-deficit’ and ‘child-nature disconnectedness’ in order to improve children’s health.

For the study, the team prepared a new 16-item parent questionnaire (CNI-PPC) to measure “connectedness to nature’ in very young children. The questionnaire identified four areas that reflect the child-nature relationship: enjoyment of nature, empathy for nature, responsibility towards nature and awareness of nature.

Also Read- Soothing Colours, Right Scent Aid Sound Sleep

The results give a new possibility for investigating the link between the outdoor environment and well-being in pre-school children.

The team further plans to test the effect of exposing children to nature and changes in their gut microbiota. (IANS)