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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Media Diet

Now pediatricians are recommending a Media Diet for kids as one of the ways to fight obesity. Since kids don’t burn many calories watching TV or playing computer games the American Academy of Pediatrics is prescribing some changes.

In a policy statement just published in the journal Pediatrics they suggest pediatricians ask: ‘How much time are you spending in front of a screen each day?’ And, ‘Is there a TV or device with an Internet connection in your bedroom?’

Kids, the pediatricians say, shouldn't spend more than 2 hours a day plopped down in front of the computer, TV or other glowing device. The littlest kids — those 2 and under — shouldn't watch any TV at all. A little extra time staring at a screen can add up to big weight gains before you know it. It's also the case, the pediatricians say, that consuming media can mean consuming advertising messages for junky foods, another factor in the weight-gain formula.  Parents should talk to kids about bad food ads and good nutritional habits. Among the other things families can do to curb childhood obesity: eat meals together more regularly and make sure everyone gets enough sleep (2011 National Public Radio).