Web Content Viewer (JSR 286) - Healthy Weight

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Mother playing soccer with two young boysChildren gain lots out of being physically active. Being physically active can:

  • Promote healthy growth and development
  • Build strong bones and muscles
  • Improve balance
  • Improve coordination and movement skills
  • Develop and maintain flexibility
  • Improve cardiovascular fitness
  • Help relaxation
  • Improve posture
  • Help kids to achieve and maintain a healthy weight
  • Promote social skills through interaction with people
  • Support brain development
  • Encourage self-confidence and independence
  • Provide opportunities to make friends
  • Improve self-esteem. 

Australia’s 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years (0-5 years) and the 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Young People (5-17 years)  provide guidance about being physical active, limiting sedentary behaviour (sitting) including recreational screen time, and the importance of healthy sleep patterns such as having consistent bed time routines, avoiding screens at least one hour before sleep, and keeping screens out of the bedroom.

For children aged 0-5 years, the guidelines recommend the following:

Physical Activity Recommendations:

For healthy growth and development in:
  • Infants (Birth to one year) physical activity particularly through supervised interactive floor-based play in safe environments should be encouraged from birth. For those not yet mobile, 30 minutes of tummy time including reaching and grasping, pushing and pulling, and crawling spread throughout the day during awake periods is encouraged.
  • Toddlers (1 to 2 years) should spend at least 180 minutes a day doing a variety of physical activities including energetic play such as running, jumping and twirling spread throughout the day- noting more is better.
  • Pre-schoolers (3 to 5 years) should spend at least 180 minutes a day in a variety of physical activities, of which 60 minutes is energetic play such as running, jumping and kicking and throwing, spread throughout the day - noting more is better.

Sedentary Behaviour Recommendations:

  • Infants (Birth to one year) should not be restrained for more than 1 hour at a time (e.g. in a stroller, car seat or high chair). Infants should also not spend any time watching television or using other electronic media (DVDs, computer and other electronic games) and instead, when sedentary, the caregiver is encouraged to engage with them through activities such as reading, singing, puzzles and storytelling.
  • Toddlers (aged 1-2 years) should not be restrained for more than 1 hour at a time (e.g. in a stroller, car seat or high chair) or sit for extended periods. For those toddlers younger than 2 years, screen time is not recommended during sedentary periods. For those aged 2 years, screen time should be no more than 1 hour in total throughout the 24-hour period- less is better. When toddlers are sedentary, the caregiver is encouraged to engage with them through activities such as reading, singing, puzzles and storytelling.
  • Pre-schoolers (aged 3-5 years) should not be restrained, for more than 1 hour at a time e.g. in a stroller or car seat) or sitting for extended periods. Sedentary screen time should be no more than 1 hour in total throughout the 24-hour period -less is better. When pre-schoolers are sedentary, caregivers are encouraged to engage with them through activities such as reading, singing, puzzles and storytelling.

Sleep

  • Infants (Birth to one year) are recommended to have 14 to 17 hours (for those aged 0-3 months) and 12 to 16 hours (for those aged 4-11 months) of good quality sleep, including naps during the 24 hour period.
  • Toddlers (aged 1-2 years) are recommended to have from 11 to 14 hours of good quality sleep, including naps during the 24-hour period with consistent sleep and wake-up times.
  • Pre-schoolers (aged 3-5 years) are recommended to have 10 to 13 hours of good quality sleep, which may include a nap, with consistent sleep and wake-up times

For children and young people aged 5-17 years, the guidelines recommend the following:

For optimal health benefits, children and young people (aged 5–17 years) should achieve the recommended balance of high levels of physical activity, low levels of sedentary behaviour, and sufficient sleep each day. A healthy 24 hours includes:

Physical Activity

  • Accumulating 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day involving mainly aerobic activities.
  • Several hours of a variety of light physical activities; Activities that are vigorous, as well as those that strengthen muscle and bone should be incorporated at least 3 days per week.
  • To achieve greater health benefits, replace sedentary time with additional moderate to vigorous physical activity, while preserving sufficient sleep.

Sedentary Behaviour

  • Break up long periods of sitting as often as possible.
  • Limit sedentary recreational screen time to no more than 2 hours per day.
  • When using screen-based electronic media, positive social interactions and experiences are encouraged

Sleep

  • An uninterrupted 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night for those aged 5–13 years and 8 to 10 hours per night for those aged 14–17 years.
  • Have consistent bed and wake-up times

Top 10 physical activity tips

  1. Explain to your children that being active is good for you as well as fun.
  2. Encourage them to engage in a variety of activities every day
  3. Encourage your kids by being active with them – join in their games, go for walks with them, ride bikes together.
  4. Encourage children to be involved in group activities to help them learn about cooperation and teamwork
  5. Limit the amount of time kids spend in front of screens such as TV, computers and games, especially for entertainment.
  6. Get the whole family involved in local activities and events that encourage physical activity.
  7. Use your local facilities – pools, walking tracks, beaches or parks – to be active with your kids.
  8. Be a good role model by being physically active yourself.
  9. Build physical activity into your children’s routine – active play, walking to school and daily jobs around the house.
  10. Choose physical activities that are suitable for the age and ability of your kids. Also provide children with opportunities for active play to allow them to develop skills that are suitable for their individual developmental stage.

 

 

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