April 19, 2007
Media Release

Turn off your screens and turn up your activity!

Turn Off the Screens Week is April 23-27
NEWMARKET –Turn Off the Screens Week is April 23-27 and York Region Health Services encourages all residents to participate in the fourth annual local campaign.  The primary goal of this campaign is to increase physical activity levels in children, youth and their families. During this week, students and families are challenged to turn off or at least reduce the amount of time spent watching television, playing video games and using computers - and get active!
 
Canada’s Physical Activity Guide for Children and Youth outlines that children should be accumulating a minimum of 90 minutes of moderate (brisk walking) to vigorous (running or jumping) physical activity each day. 
 
However, according to the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institutes, 91 per cent of Canadian children and youth are not meeting these guidelines.  Turn Off the Screens Week helps families
re-establish and increase unstructured physical activity and play as part of their daily lifestyle, and encourages children to exchange sedentary screen time with physical activity.
 
Establishing healthy physical activity patterns early on in life, combined with healthy eating habits can help reduce the risk of adult chronic disease onset such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. 
 
Families and parents can get involved and participate by:  
• Pledging to reduce screen time through participating schools.  York Region Health Services provides each registered school with a Turn Off the Screens toolkit.   Students are asked to sign a pledge stating they will turn off or reduce their screen time.  A daily log of the screen-free activities is also documented. Parents can contact their child’s school to find out how to participate. 
• Pledging to reduce screen time at home.   Even if your child’s school has not signed up for this campaign, families can still participate.  Visit our Web site at www.york.ca and obtain a parent resource package.  Package content includes an activity log, parental tips and strategies for limiting screen time and a list of local community events taking place during Turn Off the Screens Week.
• Learning about screen time strategies.  For strategies on how to manage television, video game and computer time, visit Child & Family Canada at www.cfc-efc.ca or the Media Awareness Network at www.media-awareness.ca
 
For more information about Turn off the Screens Week visit www.tvturnoff.org or contact York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or visit www.york.ca
 
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, York Region Health Services
905-830-4444 Ext. 4016 or After-hours Cell (905) 716-2717
Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca

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