Free Training and Materials Available for Statewide Turnoff Week, April 21-27

Less Screen Time, More Physical Activity Will Lead to a Healthier Lifestyle

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 18, 2008) – Free training and materials are available for the second annual statewide Turnoff Week in New York. Turnoff Week will be held April 21-27 to coincide with the National Turnoff Week in conjunction with The Center for SCREEN-TIME Awareness. Turnoff Week encourages New Yorkers to shut off television, DVDs, computers and video games and engage in physical activity instead.

Free "Power Down, Dream Big" organizer kits and posters are available, upon request and while supplies last, to all New Yorkers including the staff of schools, colleges, libraries, after-school and child care programs, community organizations, and individuals to encourage and support their participation in the coming event. The kits are full of many examples of fun games and alternative activities, teacher and parent resources, and action steps people can take to coordinate events in their school, community, or home.

Though Turnoff Week is slated for the last week in April, schools, families, and communities are encouraged to promote and incorporate Turnoff Week behaviors at times best suited to their needs throughout the year. The organizer's kit includes suggestions for event planning that can be used at any time of the year. The goal of this initiative is to practice a new behavior as part of a healthier lifestyle.

Excessive television viewing and screen time is associated with increased exposure to advertisements for high-fat, high-sugar and high-calorie foods, less nutritious meals and snacks, and increased risk of obesity. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than one to two hours of screen-time use per day for children 2 years of age and older. Children under 2 years of age should not watch TV. Children and adolescents who have a television in their bedroom are at even greater risk of being overweight.

To learn more about Turnoff Week or print a materials order form, visit the Center for SCREEN-TIME Awareness web site at: www.screentime.org. To obtain information on ordering Turnoff Week materials, Dan French at djf05@health.state.ny.us may also be contacted. For more information about preventing childhood obesity or family wellness programs, visit www.nyhealth.gov.