Forgo TV, computer games one day a week, MP urges

CanWest News Service
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Vancouver -

MP Keith Martin is advocating a national turnoff day for children and adults.
That's turnoff, as in turn off the television and turn away from the computer once a week as a way to confront a dangerous trend of physical inactivity among Canada's children and youth.
"In our country, what is quite shocking is that for the first time in history the generation of our children today is expected to have a shorter lifespan than their parents," said Martin, a medical doctor, noting that such diseases as diabetes and cardiovascular problems are cropping up in young people.
"It's entirely preventable. It's just kids are not physically active. They're sitting down for an appalling length of time. We weren't designed to live like that as human beings.
"In fact, the average child will spend more than 40 hours a week - six hours a day on average - just watching television or playing video games."
So Martin, the Liberal MP for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, will present a motion in Parliament next week that the "House of Commons encourage the federal government to work with the provinces to promote a one-night a week TV/video game free night."
Martin's idea stems from last month's comprehensive report by advocacy group Active Healthy Kids Canada (AHKC), saying that a dismal 12 per cent of Canadian children are getting the recommended 90 minutes a day of physical activity.
The 2010 AHKC report card on physical activity for children and youth gave Canada's kids an "F" for screen time, since 90 per cent of children are spending too much time in front of TV, computer and video screens.
"Kids need to be active and parents need to lead by example by getting their children away from the TV and video games to engage in free play," said Martin.

Organizations: Active Healthy Kids Canada, House of Commons, Martin's

Geographic location: Canada, Vancouver

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Recent comments

  • Brad
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    Jack from Gillams,

    This is obviously just a suggestion, not some sort of proposed law. Perhaps sitting in front of the TV has turned your brain a little soft as well. Most people (especially children) don't realize how detrimental sitting around and not getting any exercise is to their health. Turning off the TV and video games is a good way to eliminate all the distractions and go out and get some exercise.

    If you want to sit around and get fat, go ahead. That's your decision. In the meantime Jack, I suggest you go for a walk, and read this article again and see if you can understand it a little better.

    Thumbs up on this idea

  • b
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    What the MP says does make sense with regards to inactivity.

    Having said that, I want government to stay OUT OF my bedroom and my living room, in fact they can stay the hell out my house entirely.

  • Jack
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Keith Martin, people are entitled to their entertainment, and you have absolutely no right whatsoever to take away television and video games.

    If people want to use the computer or play video games, that's our business, not Keith Martin.

    Entertainment, including television, video games, and using a computer is a right, and you have no right to take it away from us.

    Keith Martin, Canada is not a dictatorship, and its a democracy.

    Thumbs down to your idea.

  • sophie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    If the goverment enriched the school system to include better physical education or put some money into amateur sports than I would listen to this guy. As it stands he should STFU.

  • whos
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    MP Keith Martin is advocating a national turnoff day for children and adults. Yup!! National turn off day!! Your bloody government has a national turn off day every day of the week....Perhaps you'd be so kind as to crawl back from where you came and attempt to listen to what people are trying to say to you and your colleagues....Apparently you have tuned out too soon!!!

  • Randy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    My goodness!! What a sad statement on the lack of common sense, intelligence, or however you want to put it, when people are TOO DARN LAZY to ensure their own childern's health!! No wonder the world is in such a mess! Whiners, nay-sayers, pessimistic media, lazy useless parents who should never be allowed to rear kids;;come on, get off your big fat asses and grow up! Is it so hard to do what is right these days, rather than whine about why your life isn't better???At least help your kids, as most kids don't get the time of day from their busy parents!!! SAD!!!!

  • Jack
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Keith Martin is not going good in the thinking department as his idea doesn't make sense as well as being dictatorial.

    Furthermore, playing video games is not bad for your health as what you think.

    While video games can be addictive, they are actually good for you as it improves concentration, focus, and even memory. Even coaches recommend their athletes to play them.

    Another thing, people are entitled to their entertainment during their spare time, which is a commodity in the 21st century world, and this dimwitted MP has no right to take television and video games away from us.

    Keith Martin, if you want kids to be active, maybe you should force provinces to invest more money on sport and recreation facilities as well as physical education, invest more money in amateur sport, and make an effort to reduce sport related costs, not taking away video games, computer games, and other entertainment instruments that parents have decisions in, not government.

    Government of Canada, stay out of our living rooms and mind your own business.

  • Kate
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Wow, really? Maybe if the government wants to make kids healthier they'll look at taxing unhealthy food and subsidizing healthy food. Physical activity can only do so much; it needs to be paired with a healthy diet to have any lasting effect.

  • David
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    I would much rather forego Keith Martin...for the rest of my life.

  • Calvin
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Here is an idea, and it may sound crazy, but take the chips and chocolate bars out of the kids mouths and they wont gain as much weight sitting in front of the TV. My son plays computer games and watches TV, but he also plays and does not get to eat whatever he wants all the time. Most peoples kids sit around playing video games eating lays, drinking pepsi, and wolfing down mars bars. Play is obviously important for kids, but it is not like it was 30, 20 or even 15 years ago when kids spent more time outside not because they wanted to, but because they had to. 50 years ago people went to bed earlier because there wasnt a prime time lineup of your favourite shows coming up on a Tuesday night, and they had to get up 6:00am to get their 9 children ready for school. 20 years ago more kids helped their fathers with yard work, cutting wood, and playing outside because they didnt have all these games to play. 10 years ago kids actually walked to their friends house to see what they were doing instead of using their personal cell phones to text or call while lying in their bed at home. Technology is going to keep advancing, but that is no reason to let ourselves fall into a fatty stupor. Health freaks and gym nuts sometimes take it to extremes (not everyone needs to be in perfect physical condition), but they do have a point when they say dont feed your kids so much junk.

  • Watcher
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    Personally, I'd like to see some changes in the workplace as well. I sit on my butt for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and the only exercise I get is what I do on my own before or after work.

    Look at countries like Japan and Norway, where they have exercise periods built into the work day... we need something like that here.

  • JK
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Entertainment, including television, video games, and using a computer is a right

    That's offensively inaccurate.

  • Jack
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Brad From St. John's, while I do watch television and play video games during my spare time, keep in mind I spend up to 9 hours per week in the weight room as part of my Powerlifting training as well as Bowling for one hour per week.

    While Keith Martin's suggestion is good, it will still have many flaws.

    If you want to tackle Canada's obesity problem, politicians can't control what happens in our living rooms, but what they can control are increased funding for sports and physical education, and make physical education mandatory from Primary to Grade 12 nationwide.

    While fitness is important, government must not control our lives 24 hours per day and seven days per week.

  • Tau
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Jack from Gillams...your reading comprehension suggests you are one of these children that spends too much time on his butt in front of a computer screen.

  • Stan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    do we really need government to tell us our kids are fat? if we have fat kids, we're going to continue to have fat kids because, in order to change them, parents have to change their own habits, and we all know that's not going to happen. That being said, who's to say what correct parenting is? Not me for sure, so I think government should mind its own buisness when it comes to parenting. I know I do.

  • Nasty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    All well and good, but this would never fly here. How would the parents be able to go to the club or bingo halls when they do not have the electronic babysitters to care for their children?

    Maybe Child Services needs to make random house calls at bingo time to see just hoe many kids are left home while Ma and Pa are out blowing the child support and welfare cheques on the VLT'S, bingo and booze.

    I bet people would be shocked.

  • Brad
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    Jack from Gillams,

    This is obviously just a suggestion, not some sort of proposed law. Perhaps sitting in front of the TV has turned your brain a little soft as well. Most people (especially children) don't realize how detrimental sitting around and not getting any exercise is to their health. Turning off the TV and video games is a good way to eliminate all the distractions and go out and get some exercise.

    If you want to sit around and get fat, go ahead. That's your decision. In the meantime Jack, I suggest you go for a walk, and read this article again and see if you can understand it a little better.

    Thumbs up on this idea

  • b
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    What the MP says does make sense with regards to inactivity.

    Having said that, I want government to stay OUT OF my bedroom and my living room, in fact they can stay the hell out my house entirely.

  • Jack
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    Keith Martin, people are entitled to their entertainment, and you have absolutely no right whatsoever to take away television and video games.

    If people want to use the computer or play video games, that's our business, not Keith Martin.

    Entertainment, including television, video games, and using a computer is a right, and you have no right to take it away from us.

    Keith Martin, Canada is not a dictatorship, and its a democracy.

    Thumbs down to your idea.

  • sophie
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    If the goverment enriched the school system to include better physical education or put some money into amateur sports than I would listen to this guy. As it stands he should STFU.

  • whos
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    MP Keith Martin is advocating a national turnoff day for children and adults. Yup!! National turn off day!! Your bloody government has a national turn off day every day of the week....Perhaps you'd be so kind as to crawl back from where you came and attempt to listen to what people are trying to say to you and your colleagues....Apparently you have tuned out too soon!!!

  • Randy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    My goodness!! What a sad statement on the lack of common sense, intelligence, or however you want to put it, when people are TOO DARN LAZY to ensure their own childern's health!! No wonder the world is in such a mess! Whiners, nay-sayers, pessimistic media, lazy useless parents who should never be allowed to rear kids;;come on, get off your big fat asses and grow up! Is it so hard to do what is right these days, rather than whine about why your life isn't better???At least help your kids, as most kids don't get the time of day from their busy parents!!! SAD!!!!

  • Jack
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    Keith Martin is not going good in the thinking department as his idea doesn't make sense as well as being dictatorial.

    Furthermore, playing video games is not bad for your health as what you think.

    While video games can be addictive, they are actually good for you as it improves concentration, focus, and even memory. Even coaches recommend their athletes to play them.

    Another thing, people are entitled to their entertainment during their spare time, which is a commodity in the 21st century world, and this dimwitted MP has no right to take television and video games away from us.

    Keith Martin, if you want kids to be active, maybe you should force provinces to invest more money on sport and recreation facilities as well as physical education, invest more money in amateur sport, and make an effort to reduce sport related costs, not taking away video games, computer games, and other entertainment instruments that parents have decisions in, not government.

    Government of Canada, stay out of our living rooms and mind your own business.

  • Kate
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    Wow, really? Maybe if the government wants to make kids healthier they'll look at taxing unhealthy food and subsidizing healthy food. Physical activity can only do so much; it needs to be paired with a healthy diet to have any lasting effect.

  • David
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    I would much rather forego Keith Martin...for the rest of my life.

  • Calvin
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    Here is an idea, and it may sound crazy, but take the chips and chocolate bars out of the kids mouths and they wont gain as much weight sitting in front of the TV. My son plays computer games and watches TV, but he also plays and does not get to eat whatever he wants all the time. Most peoples kids sit around playing video games eating lays, drinking pepsi, and wolfing down mars bars. Play is obviously important for kids, but it is not like it was 30, 20 or even 15 years ago when kids spent more time outside not because they wanted to, but because they had to. 50 years ago people went to bed earlier because there wasnt a prime time lineup of your favourite shows coming up on a Tuesday night, and they had to get up 6:00am to get their 9 children ready for school. 20 years ago more kids helped their fathers with yard work, cutting wood, and playing outside because they didnt have all these games to play. 10 years ago kids actually walked to their friends house to see what they were doing instead of using their personal cell phones to text or call while lying in their bed at home. Technology is going to keep advancing, but that is no reason to let ourselves fall into a fatty stupor. Health freaks and gym nuts sometimes take it to extremes (not everyone needs to be in perfect physical condition), but they do have a point when they say dont feed your kids so much junk.

  • Watcher
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    Personally, I'd like to see some changes in the workplace as well. I sit on my butt for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and the only exercise I get is what I do on my own before or after work.

    Look at countries like Japan and Norway, where they have exercise periods built into the work day... we need something like that here.

  • JK
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    Entertainment, including television, video games, and using a computer is a right

    That's offensively inaccurate.

  • Jack
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    Brad From St. John's, while I do watch television and play video games during my spare time, keep in mind I spend up to 9 hours per week in the weight room as part of my Powerlifting training as well as Bowling for one hour per week.

    While Keith Martin's suggestion is good, it will still have many flaws.

    If you want to tackle Canada's obesity problem, politicians can't control what happens in our living rooms, but what they can control are increased funding for sports and physical education, and make physical education mandatory from Primary to Grade 12 nationwide.

    While fitness is important, government must not control our lives 24 hours per day and seven days per week.

  • Tau
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    Jack from Gillams...your reading comprehension suggests you are one of these children that spends too much time on his butt in front of a computer screen.

  • Stan
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    do we really need government to tell us our kids are fat? if we have fat kids, we're going to continue to have fat kids because, in order to change them, parents have to change their own habits, and we all know that's not going to happen. That being said, who's to say what correct parenting is? Not me for sure, so I think government should mind its own buisness when it comes to parenting. I know I do.

  • Nasty
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    All well and good, but this would never fly here. How would the parents be able to go to the club or bingo halls when they do not have the electronic babysitters to care for their children?

    Maybe Child Services needs to make random house calls at bingo time to see just hoe many kids are left home while Ma and Pa are out blowing the child support and welfare cheques on the VLT'S, bingo and booze.

    I bet people would be shocked.