More playing time on swing sets, less watching time on TV, lowers BMI

You’ve heard the grim numbers about the growing number of obese children in the U.S. But a new study has some positive numbers that show parents a direct way they can help by getting children to play outdoors. The study makes an argument for enticing your child outdoors with swing sets, slides and climbing surfaces by spelling out how outdoor play helps lower kids’ Body Mass Index or BMI.

The higher a child’s BMI, the higher their risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other health problems. Researchers found that for each additional hour children played outside over the amount of time spent watching television, they scored 1.5 percentile points lower on BMI. Science Daily wrote about the study, "Young Children in Urban Areas: Links Among Neighborhood Characteristics, Weight Status, Outdoor Play and Television-Watching," at Find more information on how to calculate your child’s BMI at