Stop Watching and Start Doing

As a society we have become more sedentary. We have a drive-thru to suit just about every need – money, fast food, pharmacies – even Starbucks is just a drive-thru away. We’re busier, we’re juggling more responsibilities, and we’re happy to take advantage of the modern conveniences available.

But let’s face it – we’re a culture of couch potatoes. Our children spend an average of 3 hours a day parked in front of the televsion. Add in time spent with hand-held media, online chatting, and virtual visiting, and the “screen time” increases to 4.5 hours each day.

While parents have long been concerned with the effects screen time has on academic achievement and study habits, they may not be aware of the link between screen time and their child’s weight.

Why limit screen time?

  • The snack factor: Kids munch, chew, and sip their way through their favorite shows, consuming unnoticed and unneeded calories.
  • Children have replaced physcial activity with virtual activity. Time spent watching is not time spent moving.
  • Studies have shown that TV influences both how much and what children eat.

The rise in childhood obesity among other conditions has influenced the American Academy of Pediatrics to recommend “no more than 1 to 2 hours of quality TV and videos a day for older children and no screen time at al for children under the age of 2” (American Academy of Pediatrics 2005). Read the CDC’s report on television and obesity.

A positive side to TV?

St. Mary’s has found a great way to put TV to good use. Read about our recent research on the use of Nintendo’s Wii Fit in rehabilitation and weight loss.

Learn other ways to prevent obesity.