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Archive for November, 2010

Exergaming: A better option than sedentary games for holiday gift-giving

November 24th, 2010

If you want to buy your child a video game, buy a game that rewards physical activity. New research shows that playing some activity-promoting video games can be as beneficial as other forms of moderate exercise. For instance, adolescents who played Wii Sports Boxing showed physiological effects that were classified as moderate physical activity. Researchers concluded that children, ages 10-to 14-years old, who played eight hours of Wii Boxing per week, burned 1,990 calories; this is three times more calories than they would have expended if they were playing a sedentary video game. Researchers do not dismiss the importance of children engaging in traditional physical activities, such as walking briskly and running. However, if your child is going to play a video game, encourage those that reward physical activity as opposed to a sedentary video game.

Additional exergaming options include Wii Fit™, EA SPORTS Active,™ Dance Revolution™, and The Beatles: Rock Band. In fact, other research has shown that children who played certain video games burned:
• 125 calories in 15 minutes while boxing
• 92 calories in 15 minutes while playing tennis, and
• 77 calories in 15 minutes while bowling.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children between 6-and 17-years of age should engage in 60 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity most days of the week. Running and brisk walking are examples of aerobic activities that can improve your child’s overall health and reduce the risks for developing many diseases. Children should also participate in muscle-strengthening exercises at least three days a week. Also, The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests:
• Absolutely no screen time or video game playing for children under the age of three years, and
• No more than 1 hour of total screen time (includes playing video games) for children ages 3-12 years per day

If your child will be playing video games, find games that increase your child’s energy expenditure, heart rate, and perceived exertion, because many of these exergames produce effects similar to moderate-intensity exercise. More important, parents should remain mindful of the benefits of traditional exercise, as well as the recommendations for the amount of time children should play video games and engage in physical activities.

media and kids, nutrition , , ,

Bullying statistics and long-term effects

November 9th, 2010

Bullying is occurring at alarming rates in the U.S. and the long-term effects of being bullied can be severe. Unfortunately, many adults are not aware that bullying is occurring with their child or their students.

According to a National Center for Education Statistics document, the definition of bullying includes a variety of actions, such as, “being made fun of; being the subject of rumors; being threatened with harm; being pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on; being pressured into doing things he/she did not want to do; being excluded; and having property destroyed on purpose,” (Dinkes, Kemp, & Baum, 2009, p. 40).

A large study conducted in 2007, comprised of 12- to 18-year old students in the U.S., revealed many eye-opening statistics. Based on these students’ self-reports:

  • 32% had been bullied at school during the school year
  • 63% had been bullied once or twice during the school year
  • 21% had been bullied once or twice a month
  • 10% were bullied once or twice a week
  • 7 % had been bullied almost daily
  • 79% were bullied inside a school
  • 4% had been cyber-bullied
  • 21% had been made fun of
  • 18% were subjects of rumors
  • 6% were threatened with harm
  • 5% were purposefully excluded from activities
  • 4 % said that someone tried to make them do things they did not want to do
  • 4% had their own property destroyed on purpose by someone else
  • 11% were pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on, and 19% of these students were injured as a result of being pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on.

Interestingly, only 36% of students who were bullied notified a teacher or another adult at school about the event(s). Other longitudinal research concerning bullying shows that being bullied is related to poor mental health and self harm. Individuals who are bullied experience severe emotional consequences such as anxiety, passivity, academic problems, social deficits, and low self-esteem.

Based on these studies, it is clear that many children, ages 12-to-18 years, are being bullied and the majority of them are not telling adults about their experiences. To learn how you can help a child, read the information contained in subsequent posts within this blog. Bullying, regardless of where or how it occurs, has long-term consequences and must be stopped immediately.

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