Let's Retake Control of Our Lives
Support Grows for TV-Turnoff Week
One of the best, healthiest, most enjoyable holidays you can have is a holiday from television.
Americans are overwhelmingly endorsing TV-Turnoff Week 2004, much to the delight of a group of leading health organizations. The 10th annual TV-Turnoff Week is taking place April 19-25.
A new survey of more than 400 adults has found that 81 percent support the concept of the Week. In addition, 63 percent reported that they were "somewhat likely" or "very likely" to reduce their television time during the Week. And fully three-quarters said that they would be more likely to reduce their television time if they could identify low cost alternatives to television. The survey was released on Friday by Entertainment Publications, the publishers of the Entertainment Book (www.entertainment.com) and the industry leaders in 50% off consumer savings and merchant promotions.
The study was applauded by TV-Turnoff Network, the nonprofit organization which promotes and coordinates TV-Turnoff Week nationwide. "On the eve of the 10th TV-Turnoff Week, it is great news that so many Americans are ready to put down their remote controls and break free of TV!" commented TV-Turnoff Network Executive Director Frank Vespe.
And he wasn't alone.
"The average American child will spend nearly three hours today watching television, and over the course of the year will spend more time in front of the TV than in the classroom," said American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) President Carden Johnston, MD, FAAP. "As an organization that encourages being savvy and frugal about media consumption, the AAP is proud to support TV-Turnoff Week. While television can inform, entertain, and teach, this week is a great opportunity to put it aside and be sure children know that there's very little that can't be replaced by a good book, a walk to the park, or a fun game with friends or family."
Kaiser Permanente also strongly supports TV-Turnoff Week 2004. "Excessive TV-viewing is one of the prime culprits in the epidemic of overweight and obesity in children. But on the positive side, simply reducing kids' television time can reduce their exposure to junk food advertising and boost their activity levels," commented William Caplan, MD, director of clinical development for Kaiser Permanente's Care Management Institute. "TV-Turnoff Week has a demonstrated track record of success in inspiring children -- and adults -- to turn off the TV and get active. Kaiser Permanente is excited about our partnership with TV-Turnoff Network and enthusiastically looking forward to a great TV-Turnoff Week 2004. We hope all Americans will use the Week as a chance to get up and go!"
The American Medical Association also added its voice. "The American Medical Association urges families to participate in TV-Turnoff Week 2004, and to make a concerted effort to spend fewer hours watching television throughout the year. Numerous studies link sedentary television viewing to the growing public health problem of obesity, which is dramatically increasing in children," said John C. Nelson, M.D, M.P.H., president-elect of the AMA. "Recent research also indicates that excessive television viewing can promote aggressive and violent behavior. Reducing television viewing time is one easy step towards attaining a healthier and more active lifestyle."
Numerous other health promotion organizations also added their voices to the chorus urging Americans to break free of TV. Among them:
President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports: (from Chairman Lynn Swann) "I am pleased to commend the TV-Turnoff Network for a decade long commitment to showing individuals world-wide the importance of switching off their television sets, getting off their couches and becoming more physically active... Through participation in this weeklong grassroots event, you have the opportunity to make small lifestyle changes that can have a big impact on your health."
American Academy of Family Physicians: "We support the concept of restraint in the use of television by Americans of all ages -- particularly children -- in order to promote richer, healthier and more connected lives, families and communities."
The American Running Association: "The American Running Association fully supports TV-Turnoff Week 2004! We believe that increasing public awareness of the adverse effects of TV-watching is imperative in the promotion of active, healthy lifestyles for people of all ages.
National Association for Sport and Physical Fitness: "Reducing TV viewing is one of the best ways to promote physical activity for children."
Shape Up America!: "Shape Up America! recommends that adults and children replace TV time with active playtime. It's a great way to improve your health and manage your weight."
TV-Turnoff Network is a nonprofit organization which encourages children and adults to watch much less television in order to promote healthier lives and communities. The organization's website is www.tvturnoff.org
Here's an older Progress Report article on a related matter --
Local school officials punishing children who refuse to watch TV commercials
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