With school in full swing for communities across the U.S., children are back to hitting the books, crafting science projects, and making new friends. But what do kids do outside of the 6 hour school day? When you reflect back on your after-school activities as a kid, you may remember doing family chores, working at the corner store, biking with neighborhood kids, or collecting bugs in the nearby park.
Well, times sure have changed. Computers, smart phones, TV, internet, and video games make up the many media entertainment options available to kids today. And they are using them a lot! Youth ages 11-14 spend nearly 9 hours a day in front of a screen using entertainment media. And nearly 5 of these are spent watching television!
Time in front of the screen is time children can instead be physically active. Considering obesity now affects 17 percent of children and adolescents in the U.S., it may be a good time to get off the couch. The CDC recommends kids get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Wondering how to make physical activity a part of a child’s life? There are a variety of enjoyable activities available like team sports, swimming, or playground and free-time play.
So instead of watching television after dinner this week, encourage your child to find fun activities to do on their own or with friends and family, such as walking, playing chase or riding bikes. Talk to your school about promoting physical activity by including time for recess, after-school clubs, interscholastic sports, and physical education. However you can, get moving!
Want to know more?
Solutions to Childhood Obesity: http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/solutions.html
Physical Activity for Children: http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/children.html