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Lifestyle Choices for Wellness

Timely discussion on topics of health and wellness to encourage action and improvement in personal wellness.

4/22/2013 - Step Away from the Screen

In a world where everything is operating via technology and face to face contact is less and less, its important to get back to basics and step a ways from time to time. Next week is Screen Free Week, a week when students and their parents turn off the TV, video games, computers, smart phones, and tablets and find healthier ways to have fun.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (, kids ages 8–18 now spend, on average, a whopping 7.5 hours in front of a screen for entertainment each day, 4.5 of which are spent watching TV. Over a year, that adds up to 114 full days watching a screen for fun. That's just the time they spend in front of a screen for entertainment. It doesn't include the time they spend on the computer at school for educational purposes or at home for homework.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends children get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. That doesn't have to mean joining a sports team. Walking the dog, riding a bike around the block, and dancing in the living room all count as physical activity.

CDC created an interactive infographic ( to inform parents about how much screen time kids are experiencing on average each day. This infographic also offers physical activity ideas and tips for parents on limiting entertainment screen time.

If we cut back on entertainment screen time for our kids – and for ourselves – we can make more time for physical activity and help reduce both childhood and adult obesity.

Get back to the "old days" and spend some extra quality time in the yard playing catch, or climbing on the play ground. Heck, even walking to the local Tastee Freeze to get an ice cream is a fun spring alternative (with a brisk walk, you earned that ice cream!) I don't have any children of my own, but my fiance and will support this practice, no matter how much we are determined to finish Desperate Housewives on our Netflix. Time away from the screen, interacting with your family is time well spent!

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