WHO Releases New Guidelines for Activity Levels for Children Younger Than Five
The new standards focus on the amount of physical activity, sedentary time, and sleep children should be getting.
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- a minimum of 3 hours of physical activity with more exercise preferred if possible.
- Less than 1 hour on screens, with an emphasis on less time being better for 2- to 4-year-olds.
- engaging in more intellectually stimulating activities with their caregivers, such as story time, singing, and playing with puzzles.
- 11-14 hours of sleep for toddlers.
- 10-13 hours of sleep for preschoolers.
For sedentary activities, it’s recommended that children younger than 5 not be restrained in strollers, seats, or secured to their parents’ chests for more than 1 hour a day. This does not mean children should be unbuckled from their stroller after 1 hour, but rather implies that time spent in strollers or vehicles that require restraints be limited.
“What we really need to do is bring back play for children,” says Dr. Juana Willumsen, WHO focal point for childhood obesity and physical activity. “This is about making the shift from sedentary time to playtime, while protecting sleep. “