February 21, 2012
Physical activity guidelines for preschoolers - more evidence needed
A recent article in the Medical Journal of Australia has called for more research on how much physical activity preschoolers should be doing daily and at what intensity, to encourage healthy growth and development and prevent overweight and obesity.
In 2010 Australia released Physical activity guidelines for children aged 0-5 years. These guidelines recommend that toddlers ( aged 1-3 years) and preschoolers ( aged 3-5 years) be physically active everyday for at least 3 hours spread throughout the day. However limited studies have shown that children are not meeting this level of activity.
Worldwide, various countries have developed their own physical activity guidelines for children. There appears to be no consistency between these as there is little research on which to base them. Given that overweight and obesity has increased in young children there is a need for evidence based studies to determine baseline data as to what is the 'natural' level of physical activity in young children and then to determine how much is needed for optimal health/growth and to maintain weight and prevent overweight and obesity.
The article provides an interesting overview of the physical activiy guidelines in various countries.
Skouteris H, Dell'Aquila D, Bauer L et al. Physical activity guidelines for preschoolers: a call for research to inform public health policy. MJA 2012;196(3):174-176
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