CLEARFIELD -- Getting kids to move away from the shadow of a video screen and into the sun is the emphasis behind National Unplug and Play Week, which begins Monday and runs through Sunday.
Local health officials are concerned American children are spending an average of five hours a day in front of a screen, including TV, video games, cell phones and the Internet, for entertainment.
"This means that, over the course of a year, kids spend more time in front of a screen than in school," said Tiffany Leishman, a community health educator with the Davis County Health Department.
"Screen time cuts into family time and is a leading cause of obesity in both adults and children."
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children older than 2 spend no more than one or two hours a day in front of a screen, Leishman said. Children younger than 2 should have no screen time.
Health officials are hoping that dedicating a week to no screen time and more outdoor activities will improve the overall health of children.
"Watching less TV increases opportunities for physical activity, decreases exposure to ads for unhealthy foods and improves family time," said Lewis R. Garrett, director of the Davis County Health Department.
A few ideas to fill the extra time created by forgoing screen time includes visiting an area community center or park; swimming at an indoor pool; visiting the zoo; taking a nature hike; organizing a neighborhood basketball, soccer or kickball game; or beginning a family project.
Garrett said he would recommend the public try to pull the plug on their screens for the entire week.
"If it seems too challenging, designate a day or two of the week as screen-free days or even start with just eliminating the TV during mealtimes," he said.
"Even small steps can help families be more active together."