Health District Urging Parents "Turn off the TV" Next Week

National movement focuses on getting kids more active.

During next week's National Turnoff Week, April 20-26, the Spokane Regional Health District is joining with groups across the country to let parents know the impact that excessive television viewing can have on activity level, obesity and family time. Parents can download and print a sign to hang on their TV or front door to notify family members that the household is participating in the national event.

"We have become a society of excessive TV watchers. If we take those hours we normally use to watch TV on a daily basis and do something active, we will see positive changes in our lives and in the lives of our family members," says Heleen Dewey, health educator for the Spokane Regional Health District's Physical Activity and Nutrition Program. "Everyone can participate. Do something active. Go outside…it's spring. We live in the great northwest with so many recreational opportunities."

The Health District points to the following statistics as reasons for turning off the TV:

  • Excessive screen time takes away from recreational activities that families can be doing together.
  • Children are becoming more obese. Children are more sedentary because of screen time.
  • On average, people watch about 4½ hours of TV every day and spend another hour with computers, video games and cell phones.
  • The average household has 2.73 TVs and only 2.55 people.

National supporters include the American Medical Association the American Academy of Pediatrics, National Education Association and the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.