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For Release:      April 17, 2009

Contact:           Pamela Williams

                        Office of Communications

                        405/271-5601                

 

Strong and Healthy Oklahoma Initiative Supports 

National Turnoff Week 2009

 

Make your plans now to participate in National Turnoff Week 2009, taking place April 20-26. This weeklong event began in 1994, formerly TV Turnoff Week, and encourages people to turn off their televisions, computers, and electronic games in order to read, create, learn, play and connect with their communities and families.  The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and the Strong and Healthy Oklahoma Initiative encourage you to turn off the screen and turn on life in April. Try enjoying some time outside instead of watching TV in the evenings.

Although screen time in itself is not a bad thing, too much of it can increase risks for becoming overweight by decreasing physical activity and increasing consumption of high calorie foods.  During television shows, kids are often bombarded with commercials for high calorie foods and beverages with very little nutritional value.  In fact, a 2006 study showed that each hour of television viewing by school-aged kids is associated with an intake of an additional 167 calories.  Excess screen time can also lead to violence, poor school performance, sleep problems and less imaginative play among children.  

Current statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that 36 percent of Oklahoma adults and 15 percent of Oklahoma children are considered overweight.

Taking part in Turnoff Week is an excellent opportunity to start reducing these numbers.  Health professionals promote activities that are enjoyable, involve extended periods of movement and increase heart rate as excellent alternatives to remaining inactive while watching TV or using the computer. 

National Turnoff Week is supported by more than 70 national organizations, including the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, National Education Association, President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports as well as OSDH. For more information on decreasing screen time and the Partnership for a Strong and Healthy Oklahoma visit this Web site: www.strongandhealthy.ok.gov or contact OSDH Chronic Disease Service Physical Activity Coordinator Matt Jacobs at (405) 271-4072.

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