Category Archives: In the Media

Keeping an eye on screen time – An interview with Dr. Gortmaker

In a recent interview with the Harvard Gazette, Dr. Steve Gortmaker discussed screen time, obesity, and our Outsmarting the Smart Screens guide for parents:

First there was too much TV, then computer and video-gaming addictions. Today, the proliferation of smart screens gives kids a three-in-one box, portable enough to be watched from anywhere, out of sight of watchful parents.

With parents and kids in back-to-school mode, refocusing on the daily demands of homework, sports, and activities, time spent staring at a screen comes at a premium. Steven Gortmaker, professor of the practice of health sociology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, has been studying how we have used and sometimes abused screen time since the 1980s, when he published one of the first studies linking TV watching to obesity. [Read the full interview on the Harvard Gazette]

“Outsmarting the Smart Screens” Guide featured in NY Times,

Our Outsmarting the Smart Screens guide, a resource to help parents take control of their children’s screen time, was recently featured in the New York Times’ Well Column: “How to Cut Children’s Screen Time? Say No to Yourself First:”

Source: NYTimes Well

Source: NYTimes Well

Two experts at the Harvard School of Public Health, Steven Gortmaker and Kaley Skapinsky, offer a free guide, “Outsmarting the Smart Screens: A Parent’s Guide to the Tools That Are Here to Help,” as well as healthy activities to pursue to counter the weight gain that can accompany excessive screen time. Young children should not have their own cellphones or televisions in their bedrooms, they say, adding that even with teenagers it is not too late to set reasonable limits on screen time…[read the full article]

The guide was also mentioned in a similar piece on, “Cut back your child’s screen time by cutting back your own first.”

Spotlight on WATER

The recent launch of First Lady Michelle Obama’s and Partnership for a Healthier America’s “Drink Up” campaign has made H2O a focus of national conversation.

Water access and consumption is one of HPRC’s five identified key targets for girl_drinking_fountain_000001809540xsmall-1obesity prevention. From the national down to the local level,  we have plenty of resources to contribute to the discussion:

Out of School Time Nutrition and Physical Activity Initiative (OSNAP) Resources:

NOPREN Water Access Working Group
The Water Access working group focuses on policies and economic issues regarding free and safe water access.

Cradock AL, Wilking C, Olliges S, Gortmaker G. Getting Back on Tap: The Policy Context and Cost of Ensuring Access to Low-Cost Drinking Water in Massachusetts Schools. Am J Prev Med. 2012 Sep;43(3 Suppl 2):S95-101.

Giles CM, Kenney EL, Gortmaker SL, Lee RM, Thayer JC, Mont-Ferguson H, Cradock AL. Increasing Water Availability During Afterschool Snack: Evidence, Strategies, and Partnerships from a Group Randomized Trial. Am J Prev Med. 2012 Sep;43(3 Suppl 2):S136-42.

Kids may not offset extra exercise at school

(Reuters Health) – Children who exercise at school don’t make up for the extra effort by being less active at home, according to a new U.S. study that used accelerometers to track kids’ activity levels.

“What this argues for is we should be increasing activity in schools,” said Michael Long, the lead author of the new study and a post-doctoral research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts.

Read the full article 

Dr. Michele Polacsek & MYOC featured by NCI’s “Research to Reality” online community!

The Maine Youth Overweight Collaborative’s (MYOC) toolkit, “Keep ME Heatlhy” has now been included in the National Cancer Institute’s online community “Research to Reality (R2R).”

Join in the discussion about Keep ME Healthy and redressing the childhood obesity pandemic with July’s featured R2R Partner Dr. Michele Polacsek.

VIDEO: Dr. Steven Gortmaker featured in NEJM roundtable discussion on “Health Promotion and the State”

“Some major U.S. public health problems are perpetuated and exacerbated at least in part by lifestyle choices and individual behavior. Policymakers at all levels of government are struggling to find ways of intervening to promote wellness and reduce unhealthy behaviors without overstepping the limits of their authority or infringing on personal liberties. What can and should government do to reduce obesity and tobacco use?”

Watch experts Thomas Farley, Steven Gortmaker, and Cass Sunstein address these and other questions about health promotion and the state in this video roundtable discussion

Boston launches ad campaign against sugary beverages

(The Boston Globe) — “Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston and public health authorities unveiled a public awareness campaign…that urges residents to reduce consumption of sweetened beverages…The campaign, which will include a media blitz, premieres a month before an executive order by Menino phases out the sale, advertising, and promotion of sugar-sweetened beverages in all city buildings…The…federally funded campaign will blanket Boston…[and] focus on black and Latino neighborhoods.”