Turn Off, Switch to Play!

Tuesday 23 October, 2007

Kids - ‘Go for your life' implores Australian parents to make changes to reduce sedentary behaviour in children by encouraging their kids to switch off screen-based activities and participate in physical activity every day.

Screen-based activities have the highest participation rate for after-school, cultural or leisure activity for Australian children. The Children's Leisure and Activities Study (2005) conducted of Melbourne children aged 5-6 and 10-12 found 72 percent of school aged children exceeded two hours of television viewing time per day.

An Australian Sports Commission study, Children in Sport (2004), found children were 3.5 times more likely to be in front of a computer or television screen after school than playing sport. According to The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (2004) 89 percent of children aged 4-5 average 2.3 hours per day watching television, DVDs or videos, and 46 percent of infants average 1.4 hours of screen-based activities per day.

These sedentary activities can be associated with a number of health-related problems including unhealthy food intake and prompts to eat beyond satiety, insufficient energy expenditure and social isolation.

It is recommended children aged 2-12 years should participate in no more than two hours of screenbased activities per day. Children under two years should not participate in screen-based activities.

The Kids - ‘Go for your life' healthy message campaign supporting reduced sedentary behaviour in children - Turn Off, Switch to Play - encourages parents to set house rules such as restrict TV viewing, turning off the TV during meal times, no TVs in bedrooms, and limiting own screen time to be a good role model for children.

Kids- ‘Go for your life' is managed by Diabetes Australia - Vic and The Cancer Council Victoria, and funded by the Victorian Government. Kids- ‘Go for your life' encourages physical activity and healthy eating in children through primary schools and early childhood services through the Kids- ‘Go for your life' Award Program.

The Kids- ‘Go for your life' Award Program provides a comprehensive, yet simple guide, on how to create a healthier environment for children by promoting six healthy messages - Tap into Water, Plant Fruit and Veg in Your Lunchbox, Limit ‘Sometimes' Foods, Move, Play and Go, Turn Off, Switch to Play and Stride and Ride.