Opinion: Investment in outdoor recreation is an investment in our youth

Jess Barton, Staff Writer

According to the Points of View Reference Center, participation in outdoor recreation has decreased significantly as a result of the rise of technology. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) state that “more than one-third of children were overweight or obese.” Overweight is defined as “having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors,” while obesity is defined as “having excess body fat.” The Points of View Reference Center says outdoor recreation is a “wide category of recreational sporting activities that are enjoyed outside, often in park or wilderness settings.” The Outdoor Foundation defines 114 outdoor recreational activities, including running, biking, hiking, skiing, canoeing, mountain climbing, archery, and so on. Outdoor recreation has decreased in popularity among young people since 2006, which concerns health experts.

In order to address the childhood obesity crisis in America, the government needs to invest in better recreation programs. According to the CDC, Americans spend over $147 billion annually on medical costs resulting from obesity. Teaching children how to eat foods with nutritional value should be our top priority. The government should attempt to make Americans aware of what is really in the food we eat. In addition to raising awareness about the nutrition of our food, we must make recreational programs more available to children who may not be able to afford outside of school activities. A defining factor of whether or not children are involved in recreational activities is the availability of those activities, such as the proximity to a child’s neighborhood. The United States needs to invest in better recreational programs for the youth of America. Ensuring the young citizens of our country are healthy should be a main priority of the government.