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TV / Screen Time

Turning off the Tube

A recent study proves that physical activity provides protection from being overweight or obese, while TV watching and video game use are risk factors. The benefits of participating in unorganized sport and physical activity increase with age, and are more important than playing organized sports.

Too much TV watching and video game use leads to over eating and an inactive lifestyle, which then increases the risk of being overweight or obese.

Reference: Tremblay, MS; Willms, JD. International Journal of Obesity, 2003.

Here are some hints to help you cut down on TV watching in your home:

  • Move the television set(s) to less prominent locations. TV is far less tempting when it is not in view.
  • Never put a TV or video game system in a child’s bedroom. It draws children away from family activities and distracts them from homework, thinking, reading and sleeping.
  • Hide the remote control!
  • Plan your TV viewing. Turn the TV on just when your favourite shows are on and turn it off when the program ends. Consider taping those shows, so you can fast-forward through the commercials.
  • Use physical activity as a reward, rather than screen time.
  • Don’t worry if children claim “I’m bored!” For children, boredom often leads to creativity and physically active play.
  • Attempt to break your TV watching patterns. If you notice you like to watch TV after the dishes are done, plan to go for a walk then, instead.
  • Set a good example! You are the most important role model in your child’s life. Limiting your own TV and computer use as well as carefully selecting the programs you watch will help your child do the same.

References: Media Awareness Network, Canadian Paediatric Society