Screen Time & Obesity

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November 5, 2013 by thehealthyheartcenter


Watching television is one of our favorite pastimes here in the United States. Kids often find themselves watching hours of their favorite shows on Nickelodeon or the Disney Channel after school. Although television can be very entertaining, it is usually enjoyed in a sedentary position. Studies show that resting energy expenditure decreases while watching television, meaning kids burn fewer calories and become more susceptible to weight gain. In fact, according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, weight gain is more related to inactivity than it is to excess energy intake. This means that exercise plays a huge role in preventing obesity in children. “Screen time” often displaces activities that utilize more energy, like playing outside with friends. Children who watch more television during the day tend to have higher BMI’s than children who lead more active lifestyles. In order to decrease your child’s risk for obesity, limit his or her “screen time” to less than 2 hours per day and promote more stimulating activities. And just because your child can’t watch all of his or her favorite programs everyday, doesn’t mean that he or she can’t have any fun! Below are some fun activities to get your kid moving and excited about exercise:

  • Walk the family dog
  • Go to a playground
  • Hula hoop
  • Double dutch
  • Hop-scotch 
  • Tag
  • Family hike
  • Freeze dance
  • Wiffle ball
  • Soccer
  • Kickball
  • Musical chairs
  • Rake leaves
  • Have a snowball fight or build a snowman
  • Hide-and-go-seek 



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