Outdoor play influenced by changing clocks

Outdoor play influenced by changing clocksAccording to a recent study that has been published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, not putting the clocks back each October could help in the fight against rising childhood obesity rate. 

Despite the changing clocks allowing us one extra precious hour in bed, a new study has revealed that the negatives could far outweigh the positives.

According to the research, children are heavily influenced by the daylight weather when they are deciding whether or not to go outside and play.

The research in question investigated the activity levels of 325 children between the ages of eight and 11. All of the children involved in the study were asked to wear accelerometers, a device used to record the amount of exercise they did. They were also asked to keep a diary of their activities.

The results of the study showed that the children engaged in more exercise outside during summer evenings when it remained lighter for longer than they did in the winter.

The researchers involved in the study have said that not changing the clocks would mean more opportunities for children to play outdoors, strengthening the daylight saving bill debate which proposes putting the clocks forward by one extra hour all year round.

Daylight saving was initiated during World War II, when the government decided to move the clocks forward by an hour to increase productivity at munitions factories and to ensure people got home safely before the blackouts.

However, health experts are now arguing that this tradition needs to be changed in order to give children more time to play outside during daylight hours. It has also been argued that the changes would make it safer for them to make their way home from school.

Tam Fry, a spokesperson for the National Obesity Forum, said: “The longer the daylight hours, the longer kids will play. They really don’t seem to care much about the weather but they do care about the dark.

If the changes were to go ahead the UK may adopt Central European Time, with BST plus one hour in summer and GMT plus one during the winter.

View and comment on the original BBC News article.

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Emma Hilton

Written by Emma Hilton

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