For most people, watching TV, sending e-mails from cell phones, browsing the Internet and playing video games during the day are routine. But these habits are also unhealthy because time spent in front of a screen is a leading cause of obesity in adults and children.
Through grants funded by The Rapides Foundation, several local organizations, communities and schools stepped from screens for one week and sponsored healthy activities for adults and children.
April 19-25 was Turnoff Week, a nationally recognized week that encourages people to engage in healthy activities and spend quality time with their families, without being sidetracked by electronics and gadgets.
The Rapides Foundation’s Diet and Physical Activity Initiative endorsed Turnoff Week because research shows that reduction in screen time can improve a person’s health, which is at the heart of the initiative’s goals to increase physical activity and healthy eating for children and adults.
“We especially wanted children to participate in Turnoff Week because of the increase in obesity levels in younger-aged children,” said Joe Rosier, president and chief executive officer of The Rapides Foundation. “We know this may have been a difficult challenge, but we wanted to encourage everyone to try to limit their screen time and do something to get moving.” Suggestions for screen-free activities can be found on www.screentime.org.
Students in grades K-8 brought home brochures and newsletters containing a list of screen-free activities they could do with their parents and families. Many students signed pledge cards promising they would have a screen-free week and logged their screen-free daily activities.
Many schools sponsored Family Walk Nights at their schools’ tracks where students and their families walked together for 30 minutes or longer. Some schools sponsored family fitness nights or evening health fairs.
Fit Families for Cenla held a Biking Bash which included bicycle safety instructions and a bicycle rodeo. The City of Natchitoches held three sessions at local parks to motivate community members to use community parks to meet their fitness needs and goals. The Health Enrichment Network in Oakdale held a Downtown Walk & Talk to encourage people to walk during their lunch breaks without their cell phones.
Several Central Louisiana schools held Family Walk Nights at their school’s tracks to encourage students and their parents to walk together for 30 minutes or longer in efforts to improve their health.
Schools sponsored Family Walk Nights through grants from The Rapides Foundation. Family Walk Nights were among the many events being held in Central Louisiana communities during Turnoff Week. April 19-25 was a week aimed at getting children and adults to limit their screen-time and instead engage in healthy activities with their families.
Schools in Rapides Parish that held Family Walk Nights were: Hayden R. Lawrence Upper Elementary, Nachman Elementary, Forest Hill Elementary, Hadnot-Hayes Elementary, Oak Hill Elementary and Pineville Elementary.
Other schools were Georgetown Elementary in Grant Parish; Natchitoches Magnet and Provencal Elementary in Natchitoches Parish; and Elizabeth High School and Reeves High School in Allen Parish.
If your child’s school did not sponsor a family walking night, start your own. Other suggestions for screen-free activities can be found on www.screentime.org.