World Health Organization (WHO) has issued guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children under 5 years of age.
Early childhood is a period of rapid development and a time when family lifestyle patterns can be adapted to boost health gains. Improving physical activity, reducing sedentary time and ensuring quality sleep in young children will improve their physical, mental health and wellbeing, and help prevent childhood obesity and associated diseases later in life.
Failure to meet current physical activity recommendations is responsible for more than 5 million deaths globally each year across all age groups. Currently, over 23% of adults and 80% of adolescents are not sufficiently physically active. If healthy physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep habits are established early in life, this helps shape habits through childhood, adolescence and into adulthood.
The pattern of overall 24-hour activity is key: replacing prolonged restrained or sedentary screen time with more active play, while making sure young children get enough good-quality sleep. Quality sedentary time spent in interactive non-screen-based activities with a caregiver, such as reading, storytelling, singing and puzzles, is very important for child development.
Applying the recommendations in these guidelines during the first five years of life will contribute to children’s motor and cognitive development and lifelong health.
Infants (less than 1 year) should:
Children 1-2 years of age should:
Children 3-4 years of age should:
To read the complete guidelines, click here
Last Modified : 3/2/2020
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