A sedentary lifestyle can lead to unhealthy weight and has also been linked to behavioral health issues in children. Screen Free Week is held annually in May as a national movement to raise awareness and help parents decrease the time children spend on screens for entertainment. The week is spent learning to use non-screen related activities for entertainment to help decrease anxiety, depression, and sedentary lifestyle habits that are attributed to increased screen time.
As one activity within their hospital Implementation Strategy Plans to increase community wellness, this initiative is the third year the Aurora Medical Centers located in Washington and Ozaukee counties led this movement locally in their respective counties.
The event planning committee was formed and led by two Advocate Aurora Health community nurses in 2020 and supported by the Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department. Each year the committee reaches out to local organizations like libraries, park departments, nature and outdoor recreation organizations, art museums, schools, and cities to provide opportunities to try new classes, craft kits, hiking, and activities these organizations already provide for free. Screen Free Week resources and educational materials are shared by schools and the organizations during the week and with activities for both parents and children.
Community participant numbers grew from just over 1,000 in both counties in 2021, to 2,600 participants in both counties in 2021. Over 2,000 parents, children, and other community members attended over 20 activities offered.
This is a collaborative effort and other local community partners include Froedtert Health Care, Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department, West Bend Community Memorial Library, Germantown Public Library, Kewaskum Public Library, Jack Russell Memorial Library Hartford, Boys and Girls Clubs of Washington County, Ozaukee Skateland, Riveredge Nature Center, Museum of Wisconsin Art West Bend, Pike Lake State Park, and Kettle Moraine YMCA.