NatureMoves: Promoting active outdoor living among children

Activity: Talks and presentationsTalks and presentations in private or public companies


Purpose: Exposure to natural environments has been associated with an array of health benefits. Children spend less time in the outdoors than their parents and grand parents did, which gives rise to concerns among parents, educators and politicians. Interventions that promote children’s active outdoor living seem required. It is, however, unclear what barriers and facilitators children experience.
The aim of this cross-sectional study was to determine barriers and facilitators for non-organised active outdoor living among Danish children aged 10-15 years. This knowledge will be used as basis for the development of an intervention programme striving to promote active outdoor living among this age group.
Methods: An electronic survey was used to collect empirical data on self-reported behavioural patterns, preferences and experienced barriers to active outdoor living. The 39 participating schools were strategically sampled to secure maximum variance in socioeconomic background and extent of natural environments. Respondents were 2039 school children aged 10-15 years, and the overall response rate was 62%.
Results: Results show differences in self-reported active outdoor living patterns across gender, age, activity level, and residential environments. Natural environments are not children’s most utilized outdoor setting, but especially girls and younger children wish to spend more recreational time in natural environments. Key barriers are bad weather and homework, in particular for girls, and TV and gaming, in particular for boys. In addition, organized leisure activities are a barrier for both groups. Boys prefer sports and adventurous activities, whereas girls favour social and training exercise activities. Especially girls and older children prefer natural environments that feature peace and quiet, whereas younger children favour natural environments with vast activity possibilities.
Conclusion: Our findings indicate that tailored interventions aimed at specific children’s groups may be needed to promote children’s active outdoor living. Preliminary suggestions to specific interventions are presented.
Period16. Nov 201619. Nov 2016
Event title6th International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health: Active Living for All: Active People, Active Place, Active Policy
Event typeConference
Conference number6
LocationBangkok, ThailandShow on map