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]
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:”
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 Today.com, “Cut back your child’s screen time by cutting back your own first.”
Our study, which found that more than half of all children and adolescents in the United States are not adequately hydrated at any given time, has been featured in national media coverage. Continue reading
Check out Dr. Steve Gortmaker’s Food Revolution Day guest blog on the importance of getting kids excited about healthy eating and living, and the work the HPRC is doing to create tools for change: Continue reading
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 obesity 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:
- Water tip sheet
- Water fast map
- Water pitcher sanitation guide
- Working with school food service
- Policy writing guide for beverages
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.
(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
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).”
“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
Check out Michael Long’s paper, “Public support for policies to improve the nutritional impact of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),” and “Identifying whole grain foods: a comparison of different approaches for selecting more healthful whole grain products” by Rebecca Mozzaffarian.
(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.”