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Children Need to Move More and SIT LESS Every Day!

April 16, 2012 by Marc Faktor, Certified Exercise Physiologist

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Last week’s blog introduced the new physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines for the early years (0-4).

The main messaging was introduced (i.e. move more and sit less) and the guidelines were discussed in relation to optimal growth and development.

Unfortunately, the discussion on sedentary behaviour and the associated sedentary behaviour guidelines for the early years was limited and that’s the focus of this blog!

What’s sedentary behaviour? 

It’s the opposite of active behaviour. It’s characterized by prolonged periods of inactivity or very little physical movement while awake. General examples of this is sitting or reclining. These two positions are the primary victims of couch surfing, tv marathons, computer game obsessions or prolonged stroller use etc. 

How does sedentary behaviour affect the healthy growth and development of children?

Well, just think of all the health benefits of physical activity and say good bye to them. This list could go on forever, so here are just a few important examples: 

  • Poor posture and growth disturbances
  • Decreased cardiovascular and musculoskeletal function
  • Elevation mood disturbances and disorders
  • Decreased energy and lower cognitive function
  • Decreased metabolic function and increased risk for weight disorders (e.g. obesity) and related conditions and cardiovascular disease risk factors (e.g. hypertension, early onset diabetes (type 2), etc.)

What do the guidelines say?

  • For healthy growth and development, caregivers should minimize the time infants (aged less than 1 year), toddlers (aged 1-2 years) and preschoolers (aged 3-4 years) 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 those under 2 years, screen time (e.g., TV, computer, electronic games) isn’t recommended.
  • For children 2-4 years, screen time should be limited to under one hour per day; less is better.

Taking the above information into consideration, it’s essential for parents and caregivers to take an active role in providing opportunities for growing children to MOVE MORE and SIT LESS! 

Please don't hesitate to contact The Physical Activity Line for further advice and recommendations.

Ps. Please share ways that you’ve been able help your children decrease their sedentary time with the community by commenting below!

Keep Positive, Keep Smiling and KEEP MOVING!


References and Resources: 

Info Sheet: Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for the Early Years (0-4)

HFBC BLOG: New Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for the Early Years

Info Sheet: Physical Activity Guidelines for the Early Years (0-4) 

 
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