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The percentage of 10th graders in Washington who said they watched TV or used the computer for fun for 3 or more hours on an average school day increased from 45% in 2002 to 53% in 2006.
When children spend too much time watching television they are more likely to be overweight.(1) Food advertising changes what children eat, and almost all the food that is advertised on television and the internet is high in calories and low in nutrients.
(2,3,4) There are national goals to improve health by reducing the use of television and other “screens.”(5)
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends:
Many infants(7) and 31 percent of Washington sixth-grade youth, 61 percent in eighth and tenth grades, and 54 percent in 12th grade(8) exceed the AAP recommendations for television viewing and other screen time.(7) Infants of non-high school graduates are almost four times as likely to watch at least one hour of television a day compared to those of college graduates.(9)
Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends:
Representatives of more than 30 agencies and programs that are working to reduce the impact of media and screen-time came together for the Washington State Smart Screen Time Summit in 2007. Participants explored policy and environmental changes to promote smart screen use, reduce screen use and increase physical activity opportunities for children.(11) Priority strategies for Washington are:
Health departments in King and Snohomish Counties regularly offer workshops that provide practical resources for child care and youth programs. In King County, 76 percent of participants in the Fuel and Play Workshop used materials and information from the workshop toincrease children’s physical activity.
No Child Left Inside is a program administered by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission that makes grants available to public agencies, for-profit corporations, private non-profit organizations, public and private schools, private individuals and community-based programs to provide opportunities for children to be outside and physically active.