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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Turn It Off

We are mid-week through "TV Turnoff Week," a week devoted to turning off the television and focusing on other activities instead of zoning out in sedentary fashion in front of the boob tube. The Center for Screen-Time Awareness started TV Turnoff Week, and their mission is to provide information so people can live healthier lives in functional families in vibrant communities by taking control of the electronic media in their lives, not allowing it to control them. Even though we are halfway through the week, you can still participate! Start tonight!

Interesting stats (courtesy of TV-Free America):
  • 66% of Americans watch TV while eating dinner on a regular basis
  • 70% of daycares use TV during a typical day
  • 50% of children aged 6-17 have a TV in their bedroom
  • Average American youth watches 1,500 hours per year of TV (they only spend 900 hours in school)
  • An average child spends 1,680 minutes watching TV
  • A parent spends 3.5 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children

Studies show some other interesting correlations:
  • Girls who had a TV in their room ate few vegetables, spent less time exercising, drank more sugared drinks, and ate fewer meals with their families
  • Boys who had a TV in their room spent less time reading books and doing homework, ate less fruit, had lower GPA's, and ate fewer meals with their families
  • A study on kids with hypertension found that those with high blood pressure watched an hour more per day of TV than kids with normal blood pressure
  • When researchers cut screen time in half, the kids developed a healthier body mass index and ate fewer calories

What to do when the TV is off:
  • Go for a walk
  • Call a friend
  • Write a letter to a friend or relative (maybe Grandma doesn't have email)
  • Take a nature hike
  • Visit a botanical garden (I don't think it is a coincidence that Earth Day was also this week)
  • Plan and cook a healthy dinner together as a family
  • Meet some friends to play soccer, basketball, or your favorite sport
  • Visit the library and start reading a good book
  • Plant some flowers

Check out www.familytabletime.com for ideas on how to interact with your children at mealtime.

Photo courtesy of Aaronyx
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About the Author


Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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