With School Out, Kids at Risk of Becoming Couch Potatoes : Travelocity Survey Reveals Family Vacations May Be Connected to Children's Disconnection with Nature

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The Problem: Kids are officially out of school for summer within the next few weeks. While it should be a time for outdoor play and exploration, a recent Travelocity survey reveals that family vacations may be contributing to children's disconnection with nature and resulting health issues. And while a recent study published in the May 28, 2008 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association suggests childhood obesity may have finally hit a plateau, 32 percent of American schoolchildren remain overweight or obese.

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According to the Children & Nature Network, only 6 percent of kids ages 9 - 13 play outside. Youths between the ages 8 - 18 spend more than 45 hours a week with electronic media. Travelocity's family travel poll shows the same trend in family vacations. Twenty-five percent of the Silent Generation (born between 1925-1945) report all of their childhood family vacations included some interaction with nature compared to only 15 percent of families traveling with kids today. Car travel diminished with the rise of plane travel so that today's families take road trips 34 percent of the time vs. Gen-Xers, 79 percent, and the Silent Generation, 89 percent. Today's families opt to stay in hotels and resorts 59 percent of the time vs. Boomers at only 31 percent of the time. Boomers were open to more affordable solutions such as campsites 26 percent of the time compared to today's travelers only 3 percent of the time. Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, draws connections to kids who spend less time outside to problems with obesity, attention disorders, depression and stress. The Solution:

Travelocity has developed a new "micro-site" offering tips for parents on getting their kids off the couch and back into nature this summer. For families who need help planning their outdoor adventures, Travelocity uses its Roadtrip Wizard tool to plan itineraries around the country. For more details on the National Geographic Kids approved road trips, please visit http://www.travelocity.com/nature. Multimedia:

To download more photos or video of outdoor vacation destinations, please visit the FTP site:


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Meredith McKee
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