During the month of September, Americans across the country are working to raise national awareness about childhood obesity. Today, one in five children in America struggle with obesity. Children diagnosed with obesity are more likely to have it as an adult and it can lead to long term chronic health issues like asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and several types of cancer. Obesity is an epidemic in America that is putting our children and their future at risk.
Contributing to childhood obesity is poor nutrition as well as a decrease in physical activity. A major contributing factor to this generation’s decrease in exercise is the amount of screen time they spend on computers, cell phones and in front of TVs.
Did you know?
- The average 8- to 10-year-old spends nearly eight hours a day on various media
- The average teenager spends more than 11 hours a day on media
- In the 12- to 17-year age range, 75 percent own cell phones
- 71 percent of children and teenagers have a television in their bedrooms
- 84 percent of children and teenagers have Internet access
Strategies to Help with Pulling the Plug on Screen Time to Get Kids Moving
- Have an open dialogue. Explain to your children that it’s important to sit less and move more in order to stay at a healthy weight. Discuss physical activities they may enjoy and activities for the whole family.
- Be a good role model. Now is the time to limit your screen time as you will lead by example for your kids.
- Set limits. Create a rule that limits screen time to two hours every day and enforce it.
- Remove electronics from bedrooms. Don’t put a TV or computer in your child’s bedroom. Kids who have TVs in their room tend to watch about 1.5 hours more TV a day than those that don’t.
- Make screen time and active time work together. When your child does spend time in front of the screen, have them do something active. Stretch, do yoga and/or lift weights. Or, challenge the family to see who can do the most push-ups, jumping jacks, or leg lifts during TV advertisements.
Implementing these simple tips and lifestyle changes can make a whole world of difference and lasting impact when it comes to screen time for kids and decreasing obesity.
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