Kids sitting around more; exercising less - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Kids sitting around more; exercising less

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Kids are getting more "screen time" now than just five years ago. A new Kaiser Family Foundation report shows the average 8-to-18 year old spends up to eight hours a day in front of a computer, television or video game. That's up an hour and 15 minutes from 2005.

"I think I was more active as a kid, and I think I enjoyed it, so I want to bring that enjoyment to the kids I teach today," Fulton Elementary Physical Education Teacher Dan Ruba said.

Ruba says he's well-aware kids are doing more sitting and less running these days, which is why even five years old isn't too early to exercise.

"It's very important to start early. I think it sets an achievement goal for them later on. If they like it now, they're going to like it more later on"

Teachers will tell you, the best way to get kids to exercise is to make them have fun. Sometimes that can even mean video games, if they're interactive, like the Wii Fit.

"if they're being active, I think it's a good idea. Wintertime is a great time because they can't be outside, so the interactive part of gaming systems now, I think it's a lot better than I grew up with," Ruba said.

Even during TV time, Ruba says kids can take a break for fitness.

"Have them do some sit-ups, or have them doing push-ups, or have them doing some kind of exercises they can do during commercial," Ruba said.

Ruba also adds, parent should get involved too.

"If parents do things along with students, I think the students or the kids will see that, oh, this is kind of fun because my parents think it's good for me too!"

To get kids active in Iowa, the 100 Day Challenge for Youth is one week in. The Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and the Iowa Sports Foundation challenge teams of kids to get more exercise and track eating habits for one hundred days. Cash prizes are awarded to some of the top teams.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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