Alliance for a Healthier Generation

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Editor’s Note: Each Tuesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel ProgramWe also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1220pm (central) every Tuesday at or, if you’re in North Dakota or western Minnesota, listen on your radio at AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Cut back on screen time. You’ll be setting a good example for your children and saving energy at the same time.

Screen time includes more than just TV, it’s also watching DVDs, playing video games, texting on your cell or spending time in front of a computer. Experts say that children should get at least 60 minutes of activity or more every day, so limiting screen time makes way for regular physical activity. All of us need to find the balance between screen time and getting enough physical activity so turn off the screens and expand your family’s energy, recharge their minds and improve their health.

Here are some great tips from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation:

  • Know how much screen time you and your children are getting, and then set limits for the entire family. You’ll be amazed how much extra time you “find” when you turn off the electronic devices.
  • Using screen time to reward or punish a child makes it seem more important than it is. Use praise, encouragement and recognition for physical activity, and make screen time a “non-event” in your home.
  • When watching TV at home, do jumping jacks, push ups or crunches during commercial breaks. Set up a stationary bike in the TV room, and encourage kids to move through their favorite shows.
  • Many kids list watching TV as their No. 1 after-school activity. Sometimes, they just need help coming up with other things to do. Have your kids make a “Top 10 List” of after-school activities. Just a few examples include riding bikes, shooting hoops, walking the dog, folding laundry or even helping with dinner. Post the list on the fridge so your kids can check it when they get home.
  • Turn off the TV during mealtime.
  • Take the TVs and computers out of your kids’ bedrooms. Children who have TVs in their rooms spend almost one and a half hours more each day watching them than their peers. Plus, if your kids are in their rooms watching TV, they’re removed from family time.
  • Use the TV to watch a video— whether it’s dancing, tae kwon do or yoga. Put on your sweatbands and have some family fitness time.

Screen Free Week 2013

This year participate in Screen-Free Week. It’s an annual event in which parents, children, teachers and others across the country turn off screen media (TV, video games, computers, cell phones, etc.) and celebrate the magic of being unplugged.

SAVE THE DATE: April 30 – May 6, 2012

For more information, visit

Need some more encouragement? Read 5 Reasons You Should Participate in Screen Free Week at The Body Smart Blog and turn off those screens!

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Alliance for a Healthier Generation

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation works to address one of the nation’s leading public health threats—childhood obesity. The goal of the Alliance is to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity by 2015, and to empower kids nationwide to make healthy lifestyle choices. Founded in 2005 by the American Heart Association and William J. Clinton Foundation, the Alliance works to positively affect the places that can make a difference in a child’s health: homes, schools, doctor’s offices, and communities.

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