Chief Medical Officer prescribes play and risk as well as pills

It’s almost as if our media are being deliberately obtuse. Read this, follow the links, build your arguments for play, playpeople.

Rethinking Childhood

Sally DaviesThe call by Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Government’s top health advisor, for children to be given vitamin pills has kick-started another lively debate about the health of our nation’s children (this morning I switched on my radio to hear film-maker David ‘Project Wild Thing’ Bond flying the flag for nature, not pills, on BBC Five Live with Nicky Campbell). But that was just one media-friendly recommendation taken from 15 chapters and appendices of material. A closer look at the report shows a more thoughtful set of prescriptions, with some significant and positive messages about the value of outdoor play and the need for a balanced approach to risk. This post is a public service. Its aim is to relay some of the CMO’s messages, so that advocates for play and the outdoors can quickly find and make use of them.

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One thought on “Chief Medical Officer prescribes play and risk as well as pills

  1. Admittedly I’ve only read the snippets that Tim offers up here on this blog post and not the CMO’s report in full, but two things jump out at me from those excerpts:

    (i) Re: (quote) ‘We need to develop strategies to enable young people to be able to mount successful responses against life’s challenges, and to do this we need to inoculate them and thus develop resilience. By exposing young people to low doses of challenges, in safe and supported environments, we strengthen their ability to act effectively later in life.’

    We need / [we will] enable / we need to inoculate them / [we need to] develop [their] resilience / [we should be] exposing young people to low doses of challenges / we strengthen their ability . . .

    This is all about the adult, really.

    (ii) Actually, what about play? Really, play.

    Quote again ‘low doses of challenges / active, free play can contribute a significant amount of time to their physical activity rates* / [parents] let their children play outside / which also may bring a range of physical and emotional benefits / For both younger children and adolescents, physical activity undertaken as part of leisure time outside school can enable children and adolescents to widen their friendship groups and participate in their local communities, thereby providing opportunities to develop social skills that help to build positive personal attributes such as self-esteem and self-confidence . . .’ Blah, etc.

    * So, not ‘free’ play at all then? Freely contributing to adult agendas, maybe.

    Play for activity rates, emotional benefits, community benefit, social skills, self-esteem, self-confidence, good suppressed, lovely, nice, healthy, comfortable, non-drain on society citizenship-building.


    What about play for the hell of it?

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