Don't waste March break in front of the TV or computer: Pediatricians of

TORONTO, March 15 /CNW/ - Pediatricians of Ontario are pointing to evidence that suggests children across the province are spending too much time in front of the television or computer screen and it's leading to health problems. This March break, pediatricians across Ontario want parents to know that they are here to help ensure that their children get a healthy head start.

"Unfortunately, research shows that children are spending more time in front of television or computer screens and this is leading to a wealth of preventable health and developmental issues," said Dr. Hirotaka Yamashiro, Chair of the OMA's Section on Pediatrics. "It can be very easy to drift into a routine of TV watching, or computer game playing. We want to help parents and children break out of this pattern and start building strategies for a healthier future."

Pediatricians across the province warn that children exposed to excessive amounts of screen time can have increased health risks including obesity, language delays and attention problems. In addition, studies show that:

    -  The average Canadian child watches nearly 14 hours of television each
       week, meaning, by graduation, these children will have spent more time
       watching television than in the classroom. (Statistics Canada. Average
       hours per week of television viewing, Fall 2001. Catalogue No.
    -  More than two hours a day of screen-time use increases the likelihood
       of obesity twofold (Can Pediatric Society)
    -  Television exposure during infancy is associated with language delays
       and attention problems (Christakis et al. Audible Television and
       Decreased Adult Words, Infant Vocalizations, and Conversational Turns:
       A Population-Based Study. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent
       Medicine, 2009; 163 (6): 554 DOI:10.1001/archpediatrics.2009.61)

    Pediatricians in Ontario encourage parents to:

    -  Set a limit of no more than 2 hours of screen time per day;
    -  Ensure that children have some type of rigorous physical activity
       every day; and
    -  Ensure that children have access to a healthy and balanced diet.

"Before children plunk themselves in front of the television this March break, take the opportunity to plan out a few days of activity," said Dr. Yamashiro. "Get friends, neighbours and relatives involved in helping take the kids to the park, a museum, or simply for a walk. If you want, talk to your pediatrician for simple, helpful tips on how to get your kids moving and keep them healthy."

SOURCE Ontario Medical Association

For further information: For further information: or to schedule an interview, please contact OMA Media Relations at (416) 340-2862 or 1-800-268-7215 ext. 2862 or visit

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