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Screen-Free Gems

Did you know that, according to a recent report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, kids aged 8 to 18 spend an average of 7.5 hours a day on ‘entertainment media’—watching tv or movies, listening to music, and playing video games. They also were found to spend another 2 hours texting or talking on the phone.

Unfortunately, more sedentary behavior (and less active play) usually means a higher risk of being overweight or obese. Screen-Free Week is an initiative that kicks off today, April 18, to promote more healthful lifestyle behaviors for busy parents, teachers, and those who work with and/or care for kids to find active alternatives to screen time.

Here are some screen-free gems–tips and resources to help you help the next generation move more and sit less. Even if you don’t completely turn off the screens in your home or workplace, you can replace some of the time you’d otherwise spend in front of a screen to be more active and reap the many benefits physical activity can provide.

*WeCan! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity and Nutrition), a science-based national education program from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), helps children ages 8-13 stay at a healthy weight. WeCan! offers several materials to help caregivers and families encourage children to become more active. Some tips to get active include:

*Walk your children to school –I do this as much as possible and find it a wonderful way to connect with my kids);

*Go for a half-hour walk instead of watching TV –you can walk home from school or take a half hour walk with your family right before or after dinner);

*Play with your kids at least 30 minutes per day –you can do this all at once, or divide it into 2 15 minute periods if that works with your schedules—some is better than none, and taking this time to simply play is a great way to take a break during an otherwise hectic day);

*Dance to music with your kids –one of my favorites—AND we often laugh a lot when we dance because my husband and I look so ridiculous when we shake our booties.)

For more GET ACTIVE tips, go here.

To reduce screen time:

*Set screen time limits. Create a house rule that limits screen time to two hours every day.

*Talk to your family. Explain to your kids that it’s important to sit less and move more.

Find more tips to REDUCE SCREEN TIME, go here.

How do you and your family spend your active time? Share your tips for cutting screen time and moving more.

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About The Author

Elisa Zied is a nationally recognized and award-winning health and nutrition expert, author, speaker, and spokesperson. A trusted source of food, nutrition, and health information, Elisa has garnered millions of media impressions, lending her expertise and real-world perspective to dozens of TV shows, web sites, news organizations and magazines. She’s the author of four nutrition books. An avid walker, she loves motivating others to #moveitorloseit. A book lover, she recently earned a certificate in children’s literature from Stony Brook Southampton and is currently working on several young adult novels. You can find her previous Food, Fitness & Fiction posts here and connect with her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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