CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
Physical activity is an important contributor to good health for children and young people. The amount of time spent on physical activity has long been a focus for research and policy makers. A complimentary research focus is sedentary time, and in particular, the amount of time spent on screen-based activities, which are considered strong contributors to sedentary behaviour. In recognition of this, National Physical Activity Guidelines have been developed for all Australians including children and young people.
Physical activity and screen-based recommendations for children
The National Physical Activity Recommendations provide guidance as to the number of hours to spend on particular types of activities to help become healthier. The recommendations cover children via three separate age groups, 0–5 year olds, 5–12 year olds and 12–18 year olds.
For children aged 2–4 years, the information on reported levels of physical activity and sedentary behaviour are based on the current National Physical Activity Recommendations for 0–5 year olds which recommend:
- at least three hours of physical activity every day, either in a single block or spread throughout the day
- a maximum of one hour of screen-based activity per day, that is on electronic media such as TV, DVDs, computer and other electronic games.
For children aged 5–17 years, the current recommendations for both 5–12 year olds and 12–18 year olds are the same and include:
- at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day
- a maximum of two hours screen–based activity for entertainment/non-educational purposes a day.