April 20, 2006
Media Release

Turn off your screens and turn up your activity


NEWMARKET York Region Health Services in partnership with the York Region Physical Activity Network is pleased to promote the third annual Turn Off the Screens Week, April 24-28, 2006.
 
This year's theme aims to increase the physical activity levels of children, youth and their families. During this campaign, participating students and families are encouraged to turn off or reduce the amount of time watching television, using the computer and playing video games and turn up their activity level.
 
Research indicates that too many children are spending too much time in front of screens instead of being active. In fact, many Canadian children are not active enough to ensure optimal growth and development. Less than half of kids expend enough energy to maintain a healthy weight and to develop healthy hearts, lungs, muscles, and bones (Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card, 2005).  According to Canada's Physical Activity Guide, children require 60-90 minutes of daily physical activity to maintain good health.
 
Last year during the week long campaign, 66% of participating York Region children who usually spend more than 25 hours a week in front of a screen met the challenge by being completely screen-free. This year York Region Health Services encourage students and families to take the challenge again.
During Turn off the Screens Week, participating students will be asked to sign a pledge stating they will turn off or reduce their screen time. A daily log of the screen-free activities will also be documented. York Region Health Services has provided each registered school with a Turn Off the Screens toolkit. Parents can contact their child's school to find out how to participate. 
This campaign is a great opportunity for parents to focus on fun activities for the whole family and perhaps share some of the activities they enjoyed as children.  Below are just a few ideas:
 Visit your local Parks and Recreation Centre
 Wash the car
 Take a family hike through the York Regional Forest
 Play charades
 Organize a scavenger hunt
 Engage in sport activities such as basketball, baseball and soccer
For more information on Turn off the Screens Week visit www.york.ca, www.tvturnoff.org, or contact Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653                                  
                                  
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, York Region Health Services
905-830-4444 Ext. 4016 or after-hours pager (905) 830-3302
Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca

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