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What I Did On My Summer Vacation

SATURDAY, May 28 (HealthDay News) -- With summer vacation approaching, parents need to know how to get their children outside and active, instead of spending too much time in front of the television, computer or video games.

Children should get 60 minutes or more of physical activity a day, according to experts.

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a national non-profit founded by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation to combat childhood obesity, offers these tips for limiting TV and encouraging more active fun.

  • First, parents need to assess the amount of screen time (TV, Internet, DVD's, video games) they and their children are getting and set limits for everyone in the family. Turn the TV off during mealtime and give all your family members an opportunity to talk about their day.
  • Don't use screen time to reward or punish children because that makes it seem more important than it is. Use praise, encouragement and recognition for children's physical activity.
  • One positive way to use TV is to watch DVDs or videos that feature activities such as dancing, tae kwon do or yoga. When children are watching their favorite shows, encourage them to exercise (i.e. pushups, jumping jacks or crunches) during commercials.
  • Help your children find healthy alternatives to screen time. For example, take them to the park, play outside with them, or help them learn a new sport.
  • Don't allow TVs or computers in children's bedrooms. Kids with TVs in their bedrooms watch as much as 1 1/2 hours more TV than other children.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about children and exercise.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Alliance for a Healthier Generation, news release, May 2011

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