We Can!® and the Acting U.S. Surgeon General Promote Turnoff Week 2008

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Posted April 30, 2008

Turnoff Week 2008 (April 21-27) was very important to both We Can! and the Acting U.S. Surgeon General Rear Admiral Steven K. Galson, M.D., M.P.H. The nationwide campaign raises public awareness about the effects of too much screen time and provides a great opportunity for children and families to spend less time in front of the TV and video games and adopt a healthier way of life.

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Kick-Off Event with We Can! and the Center for SCREEN-TIME Awareness

On Tuesday, April 15, We Can! and the Center for SCREEN-TIME Awareness (CSTA) participated in a kick-off event for the 14th annual Turnoff Week. Sponsored by CSTA, Turnoff Week encourages the public to turn off their televisions, computers, and video screens and adopt healthier lifestyles.

The kick-off event was held at the University of the District of Columbia, in Washington, DC. It helped raise public awareness about the impact of excessive screen time and its correlation with childhood overweight and featured the following participants:

  • Stanley Jackson, Acting President, University of the District of Columbia
  • Robert Kesten, Executive Director, CSTA
  • Karen Donato, S.M., Coordinator, NIH We Can! program
  • Lena Walton, Head, Department of Education, University of the District of Columbia

Family participating in Turnoff Event

A staff person and children from the University of District of Columbia Child Development Center participating in the kick-off event.

The event also included a poster-drawing contest for local children. Their posters depicted what they planned to do instead of watching TV or spending time in front of screens. The children and their families also participated in a Frisbee Toss and an awards ceremony.

Read the NIH press release: We Can! Joins National Call for Reduced Screen Time During Turnoff Week

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Acting U.S. Surgeon General Helped Raise Awareness During Turnoff Week

Acting U.S. Surgeon General Rear Admiral Steven K. Galson, M.D., M.P.H., has made the prevention of childhood overweight a national health priority. We Can! is part of the Department of Health and Human Services' initiative "Healthy Youth for a Healthy Future," led by Dr. Galson.

During Turnoff Week, Dr. Galson conducted a radio media tour that reached nearly 24 million listeners through interviews with stations in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, and the District of Columbia. We Can! and Dr. Galson were also featured in print and online media that reached nearly six million readers. This coverage included the New York Daily News, the Tampa Tribune, the Morning Dallas News, the St. Louis Post Dispatch, and the Arizona Republic.

During Turnoff Week, the Acting Surgeon General encouraged parents to limit recreational screen time to no more than two hours a day. Dr. Galson stated, "We know that the more time a child spends in front of the TV or computer, the more likely he or she is to be overweight. Kids are spending more time sitting in front of screens every day than they do anything else except perhaps sleeping." And We Can! was able to help parents with resources to decrease screen time and increase physical activity.

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We Can! Resources to Help Reduce Screen Time

Turnoff Week is a great time to turn off your television sets, computers, and video screens and adopt healthier lifestyles. But remember, reducing screen time is important all year long, and We Can! can help—it's one of the three health behaviors that the program promotes.

To help families and communities reduce screen time, We Can! has developed a variety of useful, evidence-based materials and information. For example, use the We Can! Reduce Children's Screen Time Log to keep track of the amount of time children and other family members spend watching TV, playing video games, or using the computer for recreational purposes. Download the screen time logpdf document icon (141 KB).

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Last Updated: February 13, 2013