Ward: It doesn't matter what age the child is, this always seems to come up as an issue.
Bhargava: I know I said this before, but unplug. You know, 50% of our kids have TVs in their bedrooms. Forty percent are 4‑year olds. I mean, that means that they're watching TV more than they should. They're watching what they may not be wanting to watch, you may not want them to watch, they're being exposed to commercials, and they're certainly not moving those little bodies. So you know, it's very important to make sure that your kids are unplugged, especially before sleeping, an hour before, and let me just say that sleep, interrupted sleep or lack of sleep in children, has been shown to have serious health effects as well, depression, inattention. They don't have the energy, bad school grades, and of course, being overweight. So there are just so many benefits for your child to go to sleep on time and to get enough sleep, that it really has to be a priority for us.
Ward: Mrs. Obama, do you have rules about what goes on at bedtime, certain bedtimes?
Obama: Yeah, we still set bedtime. The older they get, the more homework that comes into play. You know, that winds up taking up the time, so it's hard to tell a kid who hasn't finished their homework to go to bed, but you know, there is a bedtime expectation, and there's a goal to work towards that. And we don't have TVs in the bedrooms, you know, or any other kind of distraction like that, so ‑‑ and, again, if they're active and, you know, this is also where schools come in, why we're focusing on physical activity, because many schools have eliminated that. When money is tight, sometimes the first thing to go is recess, PE, those. So if they're not getting an opportunity during the school day to burn off that energy, you know, they have to have a place to make it happen. But we do need to focus back on our schools, to try to get recess back into play, to try and get PE, so that kids are having an opportunity to burn off that extra energy, so that by the time they come home, they are tired. But if we've got our kids in sports and other extracurricular activities, the truth is, there are times when Sasha puts herself to bed, she's so tired. So, you know, if they're really staying engaged, and again, sitting in front of the TV means they're not burning off energy, so they may not be tired enough. That means they need to walk around the block, you know. You know, just walk them.
Ward: Jim, I know you have something to say about research.
Kauffman: Well, there is significant research that shows that when someone, a child, does engage in physical activity, that extra blood flow to the brain and to the rest of their system actually does increase their ability to retain what they're learning, what they're studying. So I would recommend that you don't say you can't go out and play until you get your homework done. Maybe look at that and say, "I'm going to let you go out and play for 15 minutes, and then come back in and we'll break up the homework that way." Because the research does show, the increased blood flow from exercise does make a difference in your retention of what you're studying.
Bhargava: And just to that fact, there are some school programs that are using that research, you know, and inserting 10 minutes of physical activity into classrooms because of that research; it makes you feel good. In fact, if you've ever tried, if you're feeling down or tired around 3 o'clock in the afternoon, which does happen to me, actually going for a vigorous walk can wake you up just like a cup of caffeine can. So I mean, there's definitely, you know, a practical application of that.
Ward: There is. And I think, you know, we should be advocates as parents, right, about physical activity that our kids are getting in school, just like you were talking about when it comes to food as well.
Obama: Absolutely. We've got to really put the focus back on the schools in terms of what we expect is, you know, constitutes a full educational experience. And you know, we can focus on test scores, we can focus on grades, but the truth is that our kids have to be well‑rounded. I mean, when they go to college, that's going to be the expectation these days. It's not just the A student with the great scores, they want to know did you play a sport, did you take a leadership role, did you do community service, and that's how they start winnowing down. So we have to make sure that our kids, all of our kids, have that kind of opportunity in their elementary schools and their high schools so that they're competitive in life, they're competitive in college, and they have all those experiences to draw upon when they start figuring out who they want to be in the world.
Ward: Great. Well, unfortunately, we've come to the end of our time together, and I want to thank you all for coming. I want to thank Mrs. Obama and the panel for making this a national priority, and get out there and Let's Move!