Screens are Everywhere: How to Integrate Screen Time into our Daily Lives Without Sacrificing Physical Activity

PARC Speaker Series Recap

On October 30th, 2017 PARC presented a webinar with Dr. Allana Leblanc on integrating screen time into our daily lives without sacrificing physical activity.

During the webinar, participants were provided with a thorough summary of the current research landscape as it relates to physical activity and screen time; recommendations for key messages related to physical activity and screen time; and an overview of some interventions aimed at increasing physical activity.

An Interview with Dr. Allana Leblanc

1.    What are the top three take aways that you would like attendees to leave the webinar with?

I.    An understanding that the whole day matters. Although sedentary behaviour, screen time, and physical activity can be done independently, there is an important relationship between all behaviours throughout a 24-hour period. Children and youth need to sweat, step, sit and sleep appropriate amounts for optimal health.

II.    Technology isn’t going away. Over the past few decades technology has infiltrated our lives and become a fixture of modern society. Screens are omnipresent and represent a unique challenge for public health. However, it is possible to encourage the use of technology, within a healthy, active lifestyle. This webinar highlighted some successful ways we can do this.

III.    Interventions to reduce screen time, and promote physical activity should be multi-component and include the school, home, and community environment. Children and youth should be part of the solution and help to create screen use guidelines for different settings.

2.    How would you like the webinar attendees to use the information 6 months from now?

In six months from now, I would love it if webinar attendees were using some of the key messages I put together in practice. The key messages were based on current evidence, adapted for use in the school, home, and community setting. Key messages were developed for physical activity promoters, educators, and administrators in hopes of helping them disseminate information to their target audiences. This information can be used to help shape resources, communication pieces, presentations, and information sessions. The key messages are expanded upon and explained in detail in a document that will be shared by PARC/Ophea in the near future. 

3.    What excites you most about the world of physical activity right now?

For me, the most exciting thing about the physical activity world right now is the outdoors. I love being outdoors and I think in the past couple of years it’s made a bit of a comeback. Especially this year, with all of the Canada 150 events, I think there’s been a motion to take advantage of what our country has to offer (which is a lot of outdoor space!). Getting dirty, being in the fresh air, connecting with nature. Even if that means a quick walk at lunch time, it lets you push the re-set button. I think for many years we were drawn inside – it was safe and easy. Things were done inside. Devices were plugged in, food was on the table, and work was in meeting rooms. But now, many things are portable. On the downside, we are often “on”. On the upside, that gives us more freedom to work remotely, have a walking meeting, or meet a friend in a park for lunch. Many people are turning to active commuting, both for work and fun. Trails are full on weekends, public green spaces alive. I have a dog, so by necessity we go outside every day, but I make it a point to spend as much of my free time outside as possible. And lately, and maybe this is me as an eternal optimist, but I think the “crowds” have been getting thick.

Please share any thoughts or questions you have with us on Twitter @PARCOntario using #PARCBlog.

To view the webinar recording, visit: