Turn off the tube and computer this week
The Allegheny County Health Department is encouraging families with children 8 to 18 years of age to take part in National Turnoff Week April 21 – 27 and limit their kids' time in front of a TV, video or computer screen.
“Turnoff Week is an excellent time for parents to start limiting their kids' screen time and boosting their physical activity,” said County Health Director Dr. Bruce W. Dixon.
Studies show that children ages 8 to 18 spend more than six hours a day watching TV, playing video games, or using the computer for recreational purposes.
Children who spend such an excessive amount of time in front of a screen are more likely to be overweight, and as a result increase their risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, asthma and other chronic conditions.
More than 12.5 million children in America are overweight, and it's due to not only poor eating habits but also inadequate physical activity.
The Health Department offers the following tips for parents to help them reduce screen time and encourage physical activity:
• Limit screen time to no more than two hours a day.
• Don't put a TV or computer in your child's bedroom.
• Turn screen time into active time and exercise during commercials.
• Walk after dinner instead of turning on the TV, video or computer.
For more information on how to prevent childhood overweight and obesity, visit the web site of the U.S. Surgeon General at www. surgeongeneral.gov.