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Are we meeting the guidelines?

In short, the answer is NO! The percentage of children meeting the recommendations varies between countries and is dependent on the type of instrument used to measure physical activity. However, irrespective of country and how physical activity has been measured, not all children are meeting the current guidelines.

Further studies are needed to understand more specifically how many children are meeting the current recommendations but what we do know is that “some is better than none” and “more is better than some” and children should be provided with the opportunities to be active throughout each day.

Given the importance of adequate amounts of physical activity in the energy balance equation and the significant health benefits of physical activity, it is a behaviour that must be encouraged from a young age.

Physical activity guidelines for children under 5 years are for everyone!

In particular it is important that parents and caregivers are aware of these guidelines, as well as early childhood educators. Awareness of these guidelines is the first step in increasing physical activity for young children and improving their quality of life as they transition from early childhood, to childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

Conversation starter

  • Has your country published physical activity guidelines for any age group?
  • If you were to write a letter to your Government advocating for the development of such guidelines, what should be in this letter and why?

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This article is from the free online course:

Preventing Childhood Obesity: an Early Start to Healthy Living

University of Wollongong