Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in the Early Years (0-4 Years)


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Infants (birth to 1 year)

How much physical activity?

The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for the Early Years state that "Infants (aged less than 1 year) should be physically active several times daily - particularly through interactive floor-based play. More daily physical activity provides greater benefits."

How much sedentary behaviour?

Canadian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for the Early Years state that "Caregivers should minimize the time infants spend being sedentary during waking hours. This includes prolonged sitting or being restrained (e.g., stroller, high chair) for more than an hour at a time.  For those under two years, screen time (e.g., TV, computer, electronic games) is not recommended."


Toddlers (aged 1-2 years)

How much physical activity?

The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for the Early Years state that "Toddlers (aged 1-2 years) should accumulate at least 180 minutes of physical activity at any intensity spread throughout the day, including:

  • A variety of activities in different environments
  • Activities that develop movement skills

More daily physical activity provides greater benefits"

How much sedentary behaviour?

Canadian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for the Early Years state that "Caregivers should minimize the time toddlers spend being sedentary during waking hours. This includes prolonged sitting or being restrained (e.g., stroller, high chair)for more than an hour at a time.

  • For those under two years, screen time (e.g., TV, computer, electronic games) is not recommended
  • For children 2-4 years of age, screen time should be limited to under one hour per day; less is better."

Preschoolers (aged 3-4 years)

How much physical activity?

The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for the Early Years state that "Preschoolers (aged 3-4 years) should accumulate at least 180 minutes of physical activity at any intensity spread throughout the day, including:

  • A variety of activities in different environments
  • Activities that develop movement shills
  • Progression toward at least 60 minutes of energetic play by five years of age

More daily physical activity provides greater benefits."

How much sedentary behaviour?

Canadian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for the Early Years state that "Caregivers should minimize the time preschoolers spend being sedentary during waking hours. This includes prolonged sitting or being restrained (e.g., stroller, high chair) for more than one hour at a time.

  • For children 2-4 years of age, screen time should be limited to under one hour per day; less is better."

See also

Links and resources

 

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