Researchers from the University of Alberta scrutinize television shows, electronic toys, and apps for young children for their promotion of sedentary behavior. Though the market for children’s educational media is surging, this literature review argues that they have no positive association with cognitive development – but reading and physical activity do. Fortunately, these activities are free!
“We can’t build a culture of health without raising the value of a child in our society,” says Sandra G. Hassink, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. At a conference in Edison, New Jersey Dr. Hassink shared her thoughts on treating the growing population of young children with diseases that in the past only affected adults. She pointed to limited resources and lack of access to healthy, affordable food as major barriers to overcoming both childhood food insecurity and childhood obesity.
Need holiday gift ideas for young children? “Outside toys that encourage physical activity are excellent choices,” says Will Sepp, a pediatrician at Intermountain Sunset Clinic. “Push-cars, balls and bicycles encourage active play and help combat childhood obesity. Always be sure the appropriate safety equipment, such as a helmet, is worn when using these toys.” If you’re looking into DVDs, video games, or other electronic gifts, try to limit screen time to no more than two hours a day for kids two and older. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for kids under two.