With more electronic entertainment options than ever before, it is harder to get children up and moving. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, kids ages 8-18 now spend an average 7.5 hours in front of a screen for entertainment each day, 4.5 hours of which are spent watching TV. Children who watch the most number of hours of television per day have the highest prevalence of obesity.
Health advocates identify screen time as any time spent watching television and videos, playing video and computer games or surfing the Internet. Too much screen time not only replaces physical activity time, it also encourages young people to eat more of the unhealthy, high-calorie foods they see advertised on TV.
Families need to find ways to “unplug” and explore other ways to spend time together. Sharing activities such as family fitness nights, reading at the local library, exploring outdoor parks, and simply enjoying each other’s company provides fun alternatives to screen time.
You can also turn commercial breaks into activity breaks when watching TV. Try jumping jacks, push-ups, crunches, or running in place
Did you Know?
Kids who have TVs in their rooms tend to watch about 1.5 hours more of TV per day than those who don’t.
Did you Know?
The average adult, by the age of 65, will have spent 9 years of their life watching TV?
Screen Time Tips for Parents
Health experts advise limiting screen time to no more than two hours of computer or television time per day unless it’s related to homework or work.
Pediatrics experts recommend no screen time for children younger than age 2.
- Talk to your family about the importance of limiting screen time and being physically active
- Set screen time limits and a good example
- Have screen-free meals and focus on family time during meals
- Create screen-free bedrooms
- Watch television with your kids and discuss the content
70 Ways to be Screen-Free: 10 activity ideas for every day of the week!
|INSIDE||OUTDOORS||IN THE COMMUNITY|
Screen-Free Week is an annual celebration encouraging schools, families, and communities to turn off the screens and explore other ways to spend time together. Sharing activities such as family fitness nights, reading at the local library, exploring outdoor parks, and simply enjoying each other’s company provides fun alternatives to screen time. Download the Screen-Free Week toolkit here.
We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition) is a national movement designed to give parents, caregivers, and entire communities a way to help youth stay at a healthy weight. The following tools from We Can! may help you and your family reduce your screen time and increase your physical activity: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/wecan/reduce-screen-time/index.htm.