As another school year draws to an end, parents will soon be faced with decisions about how their family will spend the summer.
With childhood obesity and juvenile diabetes at record rates in the United States, incorporating physical activity into your family’s summer plans is essential to keeping your kids happy and healthy.
One way to ensure your child is staying active is to limit the amount of “screen time” your child is exposed to each day.
“Screen time” includes any time a child spends in front of the television, playing video games and using devices such as cell phones and computers.
Kids are increasingly exposed to various types of media at younger and younger ages, and the time they spend using this technology can really add up – and have a negative impact on their health.
The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a study showing that a child’s media use may be linked to their body weight, with television as the leading culprit. TV may be the unhealthiest form of media, not only due to the fact that watching television is a sedentary activity, but also because of the things that children are exposed to on television. The study asserts that kids see 5,000 to 10,000 commercials a year and the majority of them are for fast food or junk food!
The problem is compounded when children are allowed to stay up late watching TV – not only are they exposed to numerous ads, but at the same time they’re missing out on crucial hours of sleep, and the combination puts them at greater risk for childhood obesity.
So, what can you do to limit screen time and ensure your kids are staying active this summer? Consider enrolling your child in a sports camp, signing them up for the local softball league or encouraging a new skill with swim lessons or horseback riding classes.