According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, children today are spending too much time in front of screens, and it’s negatively impacting their health.
Doctors have linked excessive screen time to an increased risk for metabolic syndrome – a combination of conditions that up your risk for heart disease
Additionally, children who spend too much time in front of a screen have been found to suffer poorer sleep quality, reduced reading rates and decreased social skills.
Instead of sitting sedentary, kids can engage in physical and social activities.
“Children 6 years and older should be active for at least 60 minutes a day,” says Dr. Brigitte Carreau, a pediatrician at Kaua‘i Medical Clinic.
“By helping your children start regular activity at a young age, they are more likely to keep their healthy habits as they become adults.”
An hour of play may seem daunting, but every little bit counts – and can add up fast!
“Playtime can be broken up across several activities over the course of the day, such as walking to and from school, playground time, chores and play activities,” Carreau says.
As a parent, there are a number of ways you can help your kids engage in physical activities:
- Schedule activity. It’s easy to skip exercise if it’s not pre-planned.
- Be a role model. Children are more likely to be active when they see their parents being active as well.
- Get the entire family involved. Children also tend to participate in activities with other family members rather than going solo.
- Limit screen time to 1-2 hours per day. This includes TV, video games, tablets, cellphones and computers.
- Find a fun activity. Being active doesn’t mean joining an organized sport. Children can enjoy riding bicycles, swimming, hiking, playing tag and dancing.
“Make physical activity an integral part of a child’s life,” Carreau says. “By helping
your children start regular activity at a young age, they are more likely to keep their healthy habits as they become adults.”
For more health and wellness tips, visit HealthierHawaii.org.