Friday, May 1, 2015

Screen time

Nurse Practitioner Kim Gubbins
From the desk of Kim Gubbins, CPNP:

As we know childhood obesity is on the rise and affecting many of our children. Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure are no longer adult problems but diseases that are now part of our children's risk factors. Study after study tells us we need to make changes and we need to do it now. As parents, we need to focus on daily healthy eating and daily exercise starting at young age.

Babies learn hunger and satiety cues very early on. It is important for parents to notice when a baby is giving them signs that they either need more or have had enough. Sometimes parents overfeed or offer a bottle whenever a child cries (hunger or not). This alters an infant’s ability to learn hunger and satiety signs in their own little bodies. Additionally, we offer sweet treats, junk food and convenience foods (packaged/processed) at very young ages. For example, if a child is never offered a chicken nugget or a hot dog, they will never know any different. The point here being a child's diet and weight is very parental dependent. It is within our control (most of the time) what goes into our child's body and how active they are staying. We do the grocery shopping, we plan and prepare the meals and we set the limits on the TV/I pad/computer time.

A new research study from the U.S. Department of Education looked into the relation of TV time and children's body mass index (BMI). "Kindergarten children who watched television for more than one hour a day were 52% more likely to be overweight than their schoolmates who watched less TV." Does anyone else read that statistic and think "WOW, that is jaw dropping." What a great wake up call to all parents with young children! This message tells us to pull the plug, power off, and set limits on screen time in order to get our kids moving and playing much more! Currently the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has a guideline that advises limiting total screen time (TV, computer, I pad, etc.) to less than two hours per day. Although, with this new research maybe a decrease in recommend TV time is in store.

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