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 Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines provide guidance regarding physical activity, play, sedentary behaviour (sitting) and television viewing/screen time for children.

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

  • For healthy development in infants (birth to 1 year), physical activity – particularly supervised floor-based play in safe environments – should be encouraged from birth.
  • Toddlers (1-3 years) and preschoolers (3-5 years) should be physically activity every day for at least three hours, spread throughout the day.
  • For children 2-5 years of age, sitting and watching television and the use of other electronic media (DVDs, computer and other electronic games) should be limited to less than one hour per day.
  • Children younger than 2 years of age should not spend any time watching television or using electronic media (DVDs, computer and other electronic games).
  • Infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers should not be sedentary, restrained or kept inactive, for more than one hour at a time, with the exception of sleeping.

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

Physical activity:

  • For health benefits, children and young people should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity every day.
  • Children and young people’s physical activity should include a variety of aerobic activities, including some vigorous-intensity activity.
  • On at least three days per week, children and young people should engage in activities that strengthen muscle and bone.
  • To achieve additional health benefits, children and young people should engage in more activity – up to several hours per day.

Sedentary behaviour:

To reduce health risks, children and young people should minimise the time they spend being sedentary every day. To achieve this:

  • Limit electronic media for entertainment (e.g. television, seated electronic games and computer use) to no more than two hours a day; lower levels are associated with reduced health risks.
  • Break up long periods of sitting as often as possible.

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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