The following piece was written by Caitlin Perry, a graduate student of Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and former intern of Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey.
On Saturday, September 25, 2011, on-air broadcasting will stop at Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, TeenNick, and Nick Jr., as well as online at Nick.com, Nicktoons.com, TeenNick.com, and NickJr.com. Nickelodeon and its networks are creating this “blackout” in an effort to support Worldwide Day of Play (WWDP). Children require 60 minutes of physical activity every day, and Worldwide Day of Play encourages children and their families to participate in physical activity rather than sit in front of a television or computer screen.
One in three children in the United States is overweight or obese. Increasing physical activity during childhood decreases the risk for overweight and obesity, as well as weight-related health problems later in life. In addition to providing an opportunity to be active, limiting screen time cuts down on the number of advertisements for unhealthy food and beverages that children view. This reduction in exposure to food advertisements may protect children against marketing schemes and play a role in improving their diets.
With overweight and obesity rates increasing in the United States, Worldwide Day of Play is taking a step toward obesity prevention. Families can spend the day being active together, and parents can model and promote physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Encourage your family to participate in Worldwide Day of Play. Keep a tally of your different activities during the day, and see how many different ways you can be active!
Spending time with your family away from the television is not only good for your physical health, but it helps strengthen the emotional health of your family as well. The bonds that form when parents and children play together help protect families during stressful times when child abuse is more likely to occur. Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey commends initiatives like Worldwide Day of Play that promote valuable family togetherness time, and we encourage you to set aside time every day to play with your children.