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A recent study by the National Institutes of Health, Yale University, and the California Public Medical Center, has found that the more time that kids spend in front of the TV, the more likely they are to be obese or smokers. With conclusions that in 75 percent of cases, the more time a child spent watching media, it led to negative health outcomes.

"This review is the first-ever comprehensive evaluation of the many ways that media impacts children’s physical health," lead researcher Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, of the NIH. With the TV and computer sometimes acting as babysitters, these studies have to be a great concern for every parent.

To help, the The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests the following:

Time together is time that’s treasured. Try:

  • Family Adventures: See the sights of your community. Try hiking, fishing, canoing, and berry-picking. Discover the public parks. Visit the zoo. Explore outdoor tourist attractions.

  • Family Fitness Vacations: Plan an active get-away. Swim at the beach or bike on a scenic trail. Hike or camp in the mountains. Explore state and national parks. Raft down a river. Take a walking tour of a city.

  • The Gift of Physical Activity: Give a present that encourages activity. Outfit that special someone with a swimsuit or pair of athletic shoes. Select toys that make kids move, such as a basketball or bicycle.

  • Seasonal Celebrations: Welcome each one with fun. Winter: Go sledding or build a snowman. Spring: Play whiffle ball or fly a kite. Summer: Run through the sprinkler or jump rope. Fall:Community Service Benefit others while benefiting yourself—volunteer as a family. Do litter patrol on a nearby road, help neighbors rake their yard or team up to clean up a favorite park. Play Frisbee golf or hike through a pumpkin patch.

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