During covid lockdown and online mode of classes, it has been observed that kids and teens are sitting around a lot more than they were|used to. They spend hours every day in front of a screen (TVs, smartphones, tablets, and other devices) looking at a variety of media (TV shows, videos, movies, games). This too much screen time, junk food, sedentary life style have increased the incidence of childhood obesity and associated health issues.
One of the best ways to get kids to be more active is to limit screen time and encourage them to participate in routine physical activities and exercises.Â
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents should :
1. Put limits on the time spent using media, which includes TV, social media, and video games. Limit screen time to 1 hour a day or less for children 2 to 5 years old.
2.Discourage any screen time, except video-chatting, for kids younger than 18 months.
3.Choose high-quality programming and watch it with your kids to help them understand what they're seeing.Â
4. Keep TVs, computers, and video games out of children's bedrooms.
5. Turn off screens during mealtimes.
6. The parents should make sure that their kids get enough exercise daily. The teens should get 30 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily in the form of playing, running and joging.
7. Toddlers and preschool children should play actively several times a day and that is sufficient physical activity fir them.Â This time should include planned, adult-led physical activity and adults should always participate with kids in playing.Â
8.The rule of thumb is that obesity and overweight is root cause of majority of non communicable diseases and therefore it is imperative to combine
daily regular physical activity with a healthy diet for the foundation of heathy lifestyle.Â Further daily exercise builds stronger muscles and bones in kids besides markedly decreasingÂ risk of becoming overweight andÂ
a lower chance of getting type 2 diabetes. Exercise lowers blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels and improves overall outlook and outcome on life. Besides enjoying these health benefits , these kids sleep better and have higher ability handle physical and emotional challengesÂ of life.
Dr Suhail Naik
GB Pant Children Hospital
Consultant Surgeon, J&K Health Services