A Week Without TV

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You may not know it, but the television may have a bigger role in your life than you'd like it to. That's why the Center for Screen Time Awareness has designated this TV Turnoff Week. The purpose of it is to replace TV time with more productive activities, like reading, fitness, or family and community time. Americans watch TV for four hours a day on average. Experts attribute TV watching to higher levels of obesity, overeating and a sedentary lifestyle.

Many families don't even turn the TV off while eating family meals, which detracts from dinnertime conversations and focusing on food. More than 40 percent of families watch TV during the evening meal. And TV watching spans the entire family, even the littlest members. Pediatricians have made links to lower rates of intelligence in children who watched television from infancy to age 2, a practice the American Academy of Pediatrics frowns upon. A study of preschoolers age 1 to 4 found that children's risk of being overweight increased by 6 percent for every hour of television kids watched each day. And children who live in homes where the television is "always" on tend to read less.