How Much Weight Can A Average 12 Year Old Lift Too Much Screen Time Does Affect Your Child’s Health – Three Effective Actions to Take

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Too Much Screen Time Does Affect Your Child’s Health – Three Effective Actions to Take

As a fat kid, I lived in the shadows – the shadows of my “friends” who chose the sidelines on the playground for basketball games, and never picked me up. The shadow behind the open restaurant window where girls laugh and boys make inappropriate comments. The shadow side of myself-never letting my light shine-who wants to draw attention to this lump of flesh? The emotional pain of being a “fat girl” far exceeded the physical limits.

But in high school I gained weight, lost fat and played well on the women’s basketball team. The boys still make rude comments about my body – but they are different now. I was at a normal weight, feeling strong and healthy. For a while at least.

The battle of the bulge has been brought back by adults. And it brought me so much pain and physical discomfort that I’m not sure how I coped when I look back on those years. Twenty years of serious illness after the birth of my son. Healing was very focused, competing with my beloved son, and of course healing and recovery with other treatments because traditional methods failed – what was wrong with me? A lot. Gallbladder problem – it had to be removed. Liver problems; poor digestion; insulin resistance. Obesity in children increases the risk of health problems in adults. I know this first hand.

My mother showed her love for her children by giving her lots of Polish and Italian food; too much dessert. But we always spent hours playing outside – walking in the woods gathering leaves, twigs, flowers to make things; in the evening running to catch fireworks in the summer or playing tag after dinner on a school night. We walked outside, rain or shine, cold or hot, there was always time to move in the yard even if it only took five minutes to throw dry bread to the sparrows looking for food within five feet of us. unexpected spring snow. I am now grateful that exercise was part of my childhood equation. As an adult, I don’t hate physical activity like most of my peers. I can’t wait for it. That saved me.

Through my own initiative and the good fortune of finding the right health care providers, I have now achieved great health. Although I will never be a size 8, I can walk/jog two to three miles a day, lift weights, do Yoga and Pilates and go for the occasional five mile walk. I can even bend over and touch my toes, something that some little kids can’t even do.

That’s right. I was surprised when a colleague recently told me that 22 out of 27 toddlers can’t touch their toes. Imagine a five-year-old’s little body struggling and unable to perform this simple act. It’s sad.

Many of today’s children have too many of the wrong diets, with their calorie-laden fast food and malnutrition being a tragic example. But another important factor in the rise of childhood obesity today is the amount of time young people spend sitting in front of television, video games or computers. It is not enough to move during the day.

Modern children spend nearly 53 hours a week on television, movies, the Internet, cell phones and video games. By comparison, children spend an average of 17 hours a week with their parents and 30 hours a week at school. (1)

Studying obesity in children, researchers found that in 173 studies over the past thirty years, 86% found a statistically significant relationship between increased exposure to media and the increase in childhood obesity. 82% of the studies concluded that more hours of media predicted weight gain over time. A longitudinal study of 5,493 children reported that those who watched more than eight hours of television per week at age three were more likely to be overweight at age seven.

Another important study showed that a percentage (about 36%) of children in American kindergartens exceeded the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to limit media time to 2 hours or less per day. (Note that: I believe that the AAP should have a stronger recommendation for minors by saying no more than 30 minutes a day of using TV / DVD / computer.) The study concluded that the intervention in the prevention and treatment of obesity in school children by reducing TV / video viewing is safe. (3)

However, by age 12, the average child watches about an hour of television a day, despite the AAP’s recommendation of no screens before 2 year.

All of this is scary news. However, there is hope for the future if parents take this information to heart. Everyday decisions parents make every day can start contributing to many positive aspects of children’s health as screen time decreases and activity increases accordingly. .

Making a change, even a small step in the right direction, helps improve children’s health and the health of future adults.

Parents: Start today to reduce screen time and do more by:

1. Have a family meal.

Kids make healthier food choices when they eat with mom or dad! One study even showed that families who eat dinner together with the television eat more fruits and vegetables than those who eat alone or eat dinner together with the television. (7)

2. Family exercise together.

Biking, hiking, walking in the local park, or other activities not only support a child’s or teen’s need for movement, but provide powerful role models. by valuing exercise as an important part of everyday life.

3. Give your child the opportunity to exercise.

Maybe it’s not safe for kids to go out alone? Jumping rope in the garage, jumping on the old re-bounder or shooting hoops outside the kitchen window with the lights on are ways to think “out of the fear box”, keeping children safe and encourage action. But give children and teenagers as much time outside as you can. Green Hour dot org is a great place to get great ideas. Sponsored by the Wildlife Foundation, this site is described as “parents’ place for nature, play and learning” with lots of great ideas for family outdoor activities. Yes, we can use print and time in the service of our children’s health – if we do it sparingly and wisely.

Copyright, Gloria DeGaetano, 2010. All rights reserved.

______________

References

1. Media and the Health of Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review, conducted by Yale University School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health and California Pacific Medical Center, November 2008.

2. Ibid.

3. “Television Viewing, Computer Use, Overweight, and Adiposity in US Middle School Children,” Jason A Mendoza1, Fred J Zimmerman, and Dimitri A Christakis,

International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, September 25, 2007. http://www.ijbnpa.org/content/4/1/44

Copyright, Gloria DeGaetano, 2010. All rights reserved.

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