WHO Tells Parents That Infants and Toddlers Need Regular Exercise

(Bloomberg) -- Attention mom and dad: More physical activity, less sedentary screen time and sufficient sleep are the recommendation of new World Health Organization guidelines for healthy infants and toddlers.

The United Nations-backed agency’s guidance to caregivers covers infants (less than 1 year); children 1–2 years; and children 3–4 years. Prior WHO recommendations covered ages 5-17, 18-64 and over 65 years.

Guidelines in Brief

Infants (less than 1 year) should:

  • At least 30 minutes in prone position (tummy time) spread throughout the day while awake
  • Not be restrained for more than 1 hour at a time (e.g., prams/strollers, high chairs, or strapped on a care giver’s back)
    • Screen time is not recommended
  • Have 14–17 hours (0–3 months of age) or 12–16 hours (4–11 months of age) of good quality sleep, including naps

Children 1–2 years of age should:

  • Spend at least 180 minutes in a variety of types of physical activities at any intensity, including moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity, spread throughout the day; more is better
  • Not be restrained for more than 1 hour at a time (e.g., prams/ strollers, high chairs, or strapped on a care giver’s back) or sit for extended periods of time. Sedentary screen time is not recommended
  • Have 11–14 hours of good quality sleep, including naps, with regular sleep and wake-up times

Children 3–4 years of age should:

  • Spend at least 180 minutes in a variety of types of physical activities at any intensity, of which at least 60 minutes is moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity, spread throughout the day; more is better
  • Not be restrained for more than 1 hour at a time (e.g., prams/strollers) or sit for extended periods of time. Sedentary screen time should be no more than 1 hour; less is better
  • Have 10–13 hours of good quality sleep, which may include a nap, with regular sleep and wake-up times

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