When we were kids, Sundays were spent outside playing with friends. Lagori, hide-and-seek, badminton, cricket, chor-police, cycling races and a bunch of other games that we made up the names for. But now, in Bombay at least, far fewer kids are seen playing outside these days.
Sometimes it's because kids are too busy with classes and school related activities, and at other times it's because modern housing societies are cramped and have few parks which are usually too small. Gyms and club houses are all the rage and parks and play grounds are almost disappearing or ornamental. Traffic has made it dangerous for kids to play on the streets. In our housing society, all available place for running around, is being used for parking cars.
On the bright side, schools have introduced sports activities like football, basket ball, skating, martial arts etc. Although these activities are great for physical fitness, some of them are practiced indoors, depending on the set up. Also sports activities are typically scheduled only a couple of times a week.
Fancy toys and gadgets makes indoor activities more a far more attractive to kids than outdoor ones. Pollution and rising temperatures has further contributed to reducing the attraction of playing outside in cities.
So kids today are barely exposed to direct sunlight. Yet the human body is best at making vitamin D when the skin is exposed to some midday sunlight. Nowadays, people use sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, which significantly hinders the body's ability to synthesize vitamin D.
But vitamin D is very important for bone health in children. A vitamin D deficiency can also lead to lethargy and reduced energy levels. So controlled exposure to sunlight, without overdoing it, is important for kids to be healthy. As an alternative, vitamin D, especially vitamin D3 supplements, can help.
You can read Lavanya's informative take on the subject here.