It seems most people are concerned with the economy but there may be a bigger threat to America. Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona said, “The greatest threat to our national security is pediatric obesity.” Today there are over 22 million obese children in the U.S. alone and this is the first generation where parents may outlive their children. The direct cost of obesity is estimated at 127 billion dollars. It is predicted that by 2030, 86% of the U.S. will be overweight. Also, 85% of health care costs are from behaviors that can be prevented. Only 22% meet basic activity levels. The recommended level of physical activity is 150 minutes a week (This can easily be accomplished by walking for 30 minutes a day for 5 days during the week). (These facts taken from itechfitness.com)
Why are people so lazy? People spend only a fourth of their time interacting with the family due to technology. Technology equals a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting before the computer screen for hours at work and coming home to only more hours sitting in front of the TV, computer, or favorite video games while munching on fast food and sodas. How do we address this problem when 62% of the parents say that video games have no effect on their children? We have watched the disappearance of kids’ playtime on playgrounds both in and out of schools. This may be our most pressing issue. Only 16% of the people in the U.S. belong to a health club or gym. It is estimated that 81% of adults age 18-29 play video games. 200 million people are monthly gamers, which is now larger than the movie-watching population. Worldwide we have one billion personal computer users. It seems technology magnetizes people. The average consumption of screen time per person is 40 hrs a week. Technology has the influential spending power of two trillion dollars in sales worldwide. The “Nintendo Wii” is trying to offer a solution by creating more physically active games for gamers which require the players to exercise their bodies as they play the games.
So the debate continues. Do video games affect you and your children? We can agree that gaming and computer use may create a sedentary lifestyle leading to obesity but what is happening to your child’s brain is still being determined. According to a study released the day after Christmas, gamers who spend too much time playing their favorite video games, especially the violent sort, may risk damaging critical brain functions and stunting their learning and emotional control. A doctor at the Department of Psychiatry of Taipei Veterans General Hospital performed an experiment on thirty 25-year olds in which the blood circulation in their brains was measured before and after a 30-minute game session. In each case, blood flow was notably decreased after gaming, especially in cases of violent video games. Long-term effects could include damage to the frontal lobe of the brain, which is associated with thinking, speaking, decision-making and impulse control, and the anterior cingulate gyrus, which controls internal emotional responses. Parents have been saying for years that their kids are “addicted to video games, but a new study by an Iowa State University psychology professor, Douglas Gentile, is the first to actually report that pathological patterns of video game addiction exist in a national sample of youth aged 8 to 18 causing family, social, school or psychological damage. “This is the first study to tell us the national prevalence of pathological play among youth gamers, and it is almost 1 in 10″. It is your choice how you spend your time but maybe it is time to evaluate the cost of your computer and gaming habits to your health and your future as well as to the future society that is being created.
“When the brain is both well-organized and well-educated, it is like perfectly sown, fertile earth which produces a hundred-fold what it has received.” Julien Offray de la Mettrie 1744
At Solutions for Listening and Learning we tailor movement and educational programs that help you manage your daily habits to ensure you have a balanced life and maintain your physical and mental fitness avoiding the above problems.