Watching TV is Full-Time Job?!

12th May, 2010 - Posted by - No Comments

Just Chillin'

The American Academy of Pediatrics reported that children aged 2 to 5 spend  32 hours per week in front of a screen, watching television, videos and/or playing video games.  32 hours—that’s almost as much time as we as adults spend at our full time jobs each week. 

What is NOT happening when they are watching TV? Physical activity.  What IS happening? Children are sedentary, snacking, and being bombarded with unhealthy food messages.

Just last week, these facts were confirmed by a new study by Dr. Linda Pagani, a psychosocial professor at the University de Montreal and researcher at the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center. Pagani found that every additional hour of TV exposure among toddlers corresponded to more sedentary lifestyles, higher consumption of junk food and ultimately higher body mass indices.

According to the investigation, watching too much TV as toddlers forecasted the following at age 10:

  • a 7% decrease in classroom engagement;
  • a 6% decrease in math achievement (with no harmful effects on later reading);
  • a 10% increase in victimization by classmates (peer rejection, being teased, assaulted or insulted by other students);
  • a 13% decrease in weekend physical activity;
  • a 9% decrease in general physical activity;
  • a 9% higher consumption of soft drinks;
  • a 10% peak in snacks intake;
  • a 5% increase in BMI.

So, let’s return to the adage that play is the work of the child — not watching TV. Join HSBS in getting children up off the couch and moving.

Need some fresh ideas? Access these free resources:

  • Get Moving Today Physical Activity Calendar:  a month’s worth of easy-to-do activity ideas available each and every month in English and Spanish.
  • Healthy Homes: downloadable resources with a fun, family friendly activity, nutrition information and budget friendly recipe. Get moving and eat well. 
  • Moving with Pool Noodles: you can do more than just splash in the pool with these water toy favorites! Check out the many creative physical activity ideas you can do with your children.
  • Books That Move You: substitute screen time with good old fashioned books. Promote early literacy skills and movement at the same time. Children will move in creative ways to the action words you read.
  • Move, Play and Learn at Home: View a free webinar, available on demand, from this series to learn some new ideas about using the space, stuff and time you already have to get your children moving more.

Karin H. Spencer, EdD, is the HSBS Director. She has enjoyed  20 years in the field of early childhood education supporting young children and their families as a direct service provider, researcher, teacher educator and program leader.  Karin believes that creative play provides the context for all development and will provide today’s children with the  creativity, problem solving skills, and persistence necessary to be successful in the 21st century.  Karin and her family are currently working on creating their dream outdoor play space.

Creative Commons License photo credit: MΛЯK

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