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Physical activity guidelines

Physical activity guidelines for young children provide a set of recommendations about the amount and type of physical activity that they need based on the best scientific evidence available.

Benefits of Physical activity guidelines for children (aged birth to 5 years old)

Guidelines are developed to try and optimise the amount and type of physical activity in which young children should participate. This is important because:

  • Physical activity has immediate and longer-term health benefits
  • Physical activity levels are less than optimal and are declining globally, which means that the promotion of physical activity from a young age is important
  • Children who are more active when they are young are likely to be more active as adolescents and adults
  • Physical activity is a key component of the energy balance equation
  • Physical activity is important in the development of gross motor skills

Physical activity guidelines have the potential to advance physical activity research, policies and programs for children aged 0-5 years old. They can act as important compliance and advocacy tools for different stakeholders and assist consumers, childcare workers and other health professionals to understand the importance of physical activity for the health and development of children.

Conversation starter

  • Do you think that it is necessary for countries to have physical activity guidelines for young children? What are the benefits/limitations of this?

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This article is from the free online course:

Preventing Childhood Obesity: an Early Start to Healthy Living

University of Wollongong