16 August 2011

Childhood obesity? Forgotten traditional play? Who wants to live to 100?!

As new research shows that a girl born this year has a one-in-three chance of reaching their 100th birthday (and boys a one-in-four chance), one has to question what lies ahead.

Figures, based on predictions by the Office for National Statistics, suggest that in 2066 there will be at least half a million people aged over 100 living in the UK – but what of their state of health and mind, if persistent worries over childhood obesity are set to continue? With an aging population reliant upon technology and unfamiliar with exercise and the great outdoors – 2066 looks a rather bleak place to be, unless we act now.

Children living in today’s society seem reluctant to choose traditional methods of play, favouring games consoles over playgrounds and childhood games. Social interaction has been replaced by digital technologies, with children communicating via a computer screen or mobile device – there is no longer any need to leave the house!

Traditional values need to be rediscovered – even as a twenty-something, the developments I have witnessed in my life already are hugely significant, and while I am not denying the positive effects they will have on a younger generation – it saddens me that children today already have such a different existence to that of myself and my peers at their age.

Children do need to be protected (to a certain extent), and encouraged to utilise the technological marvels available to them – but they also need time to be children too and just…play. And by playing I mean getting outdoors, meeting other children and picking their selves back up when they fall down.

Surely I’m not alone in my thoughts?

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