LiveWell Tip of the Week
Reduce Your Child’s Television Viewing Time
With rates of childhood obesity reaching all time highs, getting children physically active and out from in front of television and computer screens has become an important health issue. Over 70% of children now have televisions in their bedroom. Alarmingly children ages 2-5 spend on average 32 hours in front of a screen, and children ages 8-18 spent 4 ½ hours a day watching television or on the computer. Along with increasing your child’s risk for obesity television viewing has been shown to decrease academic performance, and has been linked to social and emotional issues if children watch graphic or violent television.
Tips for Reducing Television Time and Health Risks Associated with TV Viewing
- Substitute one hour of screen time with family oriented activities such as neighborhood walks.
- Keep the TV off during meal times, allowing children to focus on what their eating. This often results in consumption of fewer calories, and encourages family discussion at the dinner table.
- Make sure that you select age appropriate television.
- Only allow young children to watch TV or use the computer with adult supervision.
- Do not use TV or other media devices as diversion or a substitution for engaged child care.
- Talk to your children about what they see on TV and the internet. Children are frequently exposed to candy, fast food, and tobacco advertising, as well as graphic violent and sexual situations.