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Staying Active with Checkpoint

Screen time. Kids today have more distractions than ever, with computers, video games, phones and TVs. We encourage kids to limit their screen time to a maximum of two hours a day and offer fun ideas for being active indoors.

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Kids Staying Active

Staying ActiveWith computers, video games and TV, it's a great time to be a kid. You have more entertainment choices than ever before, but too much screen time can be bad for your health.

Don't worry, no one expects you to give up screen time entirely. We know you use a computer for homework assignments. We also know how much fun video games and TV can be after a long day at school.

All we are asking is that you limit your time on the computer, watching TV or playing video games to two hours a day or what your parent allows. Too much screen time can lead to obesity because you're less active and may snack during this time.

Even if you are a skinny kid, you should step away from the screen for a while and get outside and play. It will help you grow up to be healthy and it will make you feel better right now.

To be as healthy as you can be, you need be active. Try to get 60 minutes of activity each day. If that's too much for right now, it's OK. Start with 30 minutes and work your way up.

There's a lot to do both indoors and outdoors, but today let's focus on things you can do inside:

Parents Staying Active

While there are many ways kids can use the Internet, television, video games and cell phones, the most important thing to remember is to monitor their screen time and be aware of what they're viewing and doing.

Watching too much TV is strongly linked to obesity because kids are sitting still and tend to snack during this time. They see commercials that promote unhealthy fast food, which can lead them to want those foods more.

"The good news is that there are numerous programs and approaches to prevent and treat childhood obesity," said Joel Steelman, M.D., a Cook Children's endocrinologist. "Most every approach has common elements of food choices, balanced with an active lifestyle, limiting television and computer time and eating together as a family."

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests no more than one to two hours of total "screen" time per day for children over the age of 2.

Here are some suggestions for you and your child to be more active indoors, including tips for when you're hanging out at the house:

There are steps you can take to limit TV, computer and video game usage, including:

It's important for your child to get away from the screen and be active. Make it even better by joining in on the fun. Go outside and play catch. Jog, walk or bicycle together. Just take the opportunity to enjoy being with your child and while you are at it, enjoy being a kid again for a little while.

Leaders Staying Active

This week's focus is on screen time. Kids today have more entertainment choices than ever before with computers, video games and TV. But too much screen time can be dangerous to your health.

Too much TV is strongly linked to obesity because kids are sitting still and tend to snack during this time. They see commercials that promote unhealthy fast food, which can lead them to want those foods more.

"The good news is that there are numerous programs and approaches to prevention and treatment of childhood obesity," said Joel Steelman, M.D., a Cook Children's endocrinologist. "Most every approach has common elements of food choices, balanced with an active lifestyle, limiting television and computer time and eating together as a family."

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests no more than two hours of total "screen" time per day for children over the age of 2. We know it's unrealistic to expect kids to give up screen time completely, but the goal is for them to become more active.

We encourage kids to be more active with their parents too. Talk to your group about going outside and playing catch, jogging, walking or bicycling with friends or their family members.

Here's a list we suggested to the kids in their handouts this week:

Checkup Challenge checklist

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