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New Canadian Guidelines for Physical Activity Encourage Young Children to Move More and Sit Less

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New recommendations from Canada suggest that children 4 years of age and younger should be moving more and sitting less.

The guidelines were created by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology and ParticipAction with the assistance of the Healthy Active Living Obesity Research Group. Over 40 research studies were analyzed as part of the process of drawing up the guidelines.

According to Canadian researchers, kids younger than 2 years of age should not be spending any time in front of a screen, regardless of whether that screen is on a television, computer, or tablet. They report that very young children or infants are unlikely to benefit from being entertained by what they see on the screen, and should instead participate in active play.

Children aged from 2 to 4 should spend no more than one hour a day watching television or using a computer.

The guidelines include ideas for physical activities that are appropriate for very young children. For example, children under the age of one can enjoy activities such as tummy time, crawling, reaching, and grasping. This should take place several times per day.

Children between the ages of 1 to 4 can benefit from any type of physical activity. The guidelines suggest that 3 hours of activity per day is appropriate – researchers state that this activity does not need to be overly energetic as long as the child is not sitting down.

By 5 years of age, the guidelines state that children should be participating in energetic or aerobic activities for at least an hour per day.

Young children are often much more sedentary than we realize, leading to obesity, and other health issues. Providing them with an opportunity for active physical exercise is the best way to prevent future health problems according to the Canadian researchers.

Source: The Canadian Press