The Importance of Reducing Screen Time
Screen free week is May 5 to May 11, this year and its purpose is to turn off or reduce the use of televisions, handheld video games, laptops, tablet computers and smart phones.
On average American kids spend five and a half hours a day involved in sedentary activities such as watching television, playing video games and using other electronics. Three hours of the five and a half hours are usually spent watching television.
The more sedentary time a child has each day the more their risk for developing childhood obesity increases. Unfortunately, one in three American children is overweight or obese which leads to higher incidences of cardiovascular disease, non-insulin dependent diabetes, sleep apnea and certain types of cancer in these children.
Regular physical activity in childhood improves strength and endurance, helps build healthy bones and muscles, reduces anxiety and stress, increases self-esteem and helps control weight, therefore reducing the obesity rate in children.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that children ages 6 to 17 years old participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily. Short bursts of 10, 15 or 30minutes of physical activity count toward the daily recommendation of 60 minutes each day. Physical activity should be fun for the child and it doesn’t have to be a formal exercise class. Activities such as playing in the park, jumping rope, biking, walking the dog or going on a hike could be fun activities for a child. Parents should try to be role models and provide children with opportunities for increased physical activity.