Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States Promotes Screen Free Week to Encourage Children and Families to Focus on Fitness During Spring Break and Beyond
ROCKVILLE, Md., April 13, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Starting April 18, 2011, Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States is promoting active living with the kick off of Screen Free Week, April 18-24. The goal of the Screen Free initiative is to challenge children and families to turn off their televisions, video games, and significantly limit time online during the week of April 18-24, by replacing sedentary behaviors with physical activities that promote better health.
Obesity among children is an epidemic in the United States. Obese children are at increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other obesity-related health problems. As a total health organization, Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States is committed to turning the tide on these trends by promoting Screen Free Week April 18-24, and instituting everyday alternatives to excessive screen time.
According to a January 2010 published report by The Kaiser Family Foundation, children aged 8-18 now spend more than 7.5 hours per day consuming media in some capacity with the explosion of smartphones, tablets, increased use of laptops, etc. — an increase of one hour per day since the report five years ago. These figures do not include time spent texting. Approximately 70 percent of children also have a TV in the bedroom.
Beyond Screen Free Week April 18-24, parents are strongly encouraged to put limits on all forms of screen time year-round.
- Turn off the TV during meals to encourage family conversation and interaction.
- Keep TVs out of children's bedrooms.
- Create "screen-free" days on the family calendar.
- Replace screen time with physical activity like walking, playing sports, or other active games. Active play time develops mental, physical, and social skills.
- The maximum amount recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics is two (2) hours of television each day for children over age two. TV is not recommended at all for children under age two.
- Do not use TV time as a reward.
"Physically active families increase their chances to maintain a healthy weight, prevent cardiovascular disease, and improve mental health and mood," according to Dr. Douglas Van Zoeren, Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, physician champion and internal medicine physician, at the Kaiser Permanente Capitol Hill Medical Center. "Families that work together toward the goal of total health serve as their own support network and set an example to their children to adopt a healthy lifestyle through adolescence into adulthood," said Dr. Van Zoeren.
With so much information available about sedentary lifestyles and the link to childhood obesity, Kaiser Permanente is committed to educating parents and children about the risks associated with childhood obesity, introducing proper eating habits, and encouraging families to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. With warm weather approaching, Screen Free Week is a great opportunity to jump start total health for the whole family.
Kaiser Family Foundation Report: Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds: http://www.kff.org/entmedia/upload/8010.pdf
For more Screen Free tips from Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States: http://bitly.com/hAzT7v
About Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States
Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States region, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, provides and coordinates complete health care services for almost 500,000 members through 30 medical centers in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Founded in 1980, Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States is a total health organization comprised of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc., and the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, P.C., an independent medical group that features approximately 900 physicians who provide or arrange care for patients throughout the area. Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States is considered one of Maryland's "Top HMOs," according to the Maryland Health Care Commission. The health plan was ranked in the nation's 100 top commercial health plans and 20 top Medicare health plans – and the #1 Medicare plan for Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. – by "NCQA Health Insurance Plan Rankings 2010-2011 Private." For more information about Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States, visit www.kp.org.
The Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States.
SOURCE Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States