New WHO Guideline on Physical Activity for Children Under 5

The World Health Organisation has published new guidance on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children under 5 years of age. The guideline was created by a panel of experts who assessed the effects of inadequate sleep, prolonged screen time and sedentary behaviours on the health of young children.

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.

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.

Recommendations

<1 Year Old:

  • Physical activity through interactive floor play several times a day is essential
  • At least 30 minutes prone spread throughout the day whilst awake
  • Not be restrained for more than 60 minutes at a time
  • If 0-3 months of age should have 14-17 hours of good quality sleep (inclusive of naps)
  • If 4-11 months should have 12-16 hours of good quality sleep (inclusive of naps)

1-2 Years Old:

  • At least 180 minutes of physical activity at any intensity throughout the say
  • Not be restrained for more than 60 minutes at a time
  • 11-14 good quality sleep a day (inclusive of naps) with regular routine.
  • If 1 years old – screen time is not recommended
  • If 2 years old – screen time should be no longer than 60 minutes.

3-4 Years Old:

  • At least 180 minutes of physical activity at any intensity throughout the day and 60 minutes of this should be moderate to vigorous.
  • Not to be restrained for more than 1 hour at a time.
  • 10-13 hours of good quality sleep (inclusive of naps). With regular routine.
  • Screen time should not exceed 60 minutes

Read More About The Importance of Physical Activity

Physical activity programme

A series of five online courses that comprehensively explore physical activity and the related role of physiotherapy / physical therapy