Canadian children aged four are spending too much time in front of electronic screens, according to health experts.
While it’s recommended that preschoolers no more than one hour of sedentary screen time per day, 76 percent of them are said to be doing so nonetheless.
To help fix this, new children activity guidelines have been created in a collaboration between the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP), the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group (HALO) at the CHEO Research Institute, the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta, the Public Health Agency of Canada and ParticipACTION, with input from researchers and over 600 stakeholders from around the world.
With the new Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years, experts aim to mix physical, sedentary and sleep activity to show the interrelationship between all three behaviours.
“All types of movement matter, and a balance of moving, sleeping and sitting is required for optimal health,” said Dr. Mark Tremblay, director of HALO, in a press statement. “Even if a child is getting sufficient physical activity in a day, the health benefits can be reduced by too little sleep, or too much sedentary behaviour — especially if that time is spent in front of screens. Following these guidelines through the early years is associated with healthy growth, better learning and thinking, improved motor development, higher fitness level, increased quality of life and reduced injuries.”
According to PartipACTION, only 13 percent of preschoolers meet the new Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines.
Per the new guidelines, a healthy 24 hours includes:
For infants (under 1 year old)
Moving: Experts say being physically active several times a day is key, particularly in floor-based play activities. The guidelines say that babies not yet mobile should be engaged in at least 30 minutes of tummy time while awake.
Sleeping: 14-17 hours (for those aged 0-3 months) or 12-16 hours (for those aged 4-11 months) of naps and full sleep
Sitting: Not being restrained for more than one hour at a time (e.g. in a high chair). When sedentary, engaging in pursuits such as reading and storytelling with a caregiver is encouraged. Screen time is not recommended.
For toddlers (1-2 years old) and preschoolers (3-4 years old)
Moving: At least 180 minutes spent in a variety of physical activities at any intensity spread throughout the day, but more is better. Include energetic play for both age groups, with preschoolers getting at least 60 minutes of it.
Sleeping: 11-14 hours of good-quality sleep for toddlers and 10-13 for preschoolers
Sitting: Children should not be restrained for more than one hour at a time (such as in a stroller) or sitting for extended periods of time. The guidelines suggest using sedentary time for reading, writing and other activities that don’t involve electronic screens.
Image credit: Pixabay — mojzagrebinfo
Source: Canada Newswire