ALL NEWS

Exercise, sleep, screens: New guidelines for children under 5

Apr 24, 2019, 7:39 AM
adoption coronavirus...
Parents are finding ways to work around the coronavirus roadblocks to adopt a child. (photo: pexels)
(photo: pexels)

(CNN) — For the greatest health benefits, how much play time, screen time and sleep should your baby or young child have in a given day? The World Health Organization has some answers.

On Wednesday, the United Nations’ public health agency released its first guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behavior and sleep for children under 5. The guidelines varied by age group: infants younger than 1, children 1 to 2, and those 3 to 4.

“We haven’t previously had recommendations for under 5,” said Juana Willumsen, an expert in WHO’s Department of the Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases, who contributed to the development of the new guidelines.

Previously, WHO offered guidelines for older people. In 2010, the agency released global recommendations on physical activity for health, making recommendations for three age groups: children aged 5 to 17, adults 18 to 65 and adults 65 and older.

The new guidelines for younger children are based on a systematic review of scientific evidence in published studies regarding the health benefits of physical activity, sleep and limiting time spent staring at screens among infants and young children.

“A panel of experts looks at the evidence and proposes recommendations,” Willumsen said.

“We felt it was really important to bring the new evidence together and produce these guidelines to help policymakers, people who are establishing policies for early child care or who are advising parents and caregivers,” she said. “We see that childhood obesity rates are rising dramatically, and it’s ever more evident that prevention needs to start early.”

The new guidelines note that improving physical activity and sleep among young children while limiting sedentary behaviors is associated with reduced adiposity, or body fat.

Overweight and obese children are likely to remain overweight and obese into adulthood, which puts them at risk of developing noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, according to WHO.

If your child is less than a year old

For infants younger than 1, WHO recommends that they be physically active several times a day in a variety of ways, with floor-based play and at least 30 minutes of tummy time.

The guidelines also recommend that infants not to be restrained — such as in a stroller, in a high chair or on a caregiver’s back — for more than an hour at a time.

When an infant happens to be spending too much time seated, WHO recommends engaging in reading or storytelling with a caregiver — and screen time is not recommended for this age group.

In these guidelines, screen time refers to passively watching entertainment on a screen, such as on a television, computer or mobile device.

WHO also recommends that infants 3 months or younger to get 14 to 17 hours of quality sleep a day, including naps. Those aged 4 to 11 months should get 12 to 16 hours.

If your child is 1 to 2 years old

Children aged 1 to 2 also should get plenty of quality sleep every day: between 11 and 14 hours, including naps, according to the guidelines.

The guidelines also recommend that these children spend at least 180 minutes a day in a variety of physical activities.

“Physical activity has the greatest impact, and the recommendation for 180 minutes of physical activity for children over 1 of year of age is really a return to active play. We’re not recommending structured exercise,” Willumsen said.

“It’s really about ensuring that children have that opportunity for active play,” she said. “It’s the way that children learn.”

Children in this age group should not be restrained for more than an hour at a time, according to the guidelines. Screen time is not recommended for 1-year-olds, and the guidelines recommend that it be limited to one hour a day for 2-year-olds.

If your child is 3 to 4 years old

Screen time should be limited to one hour a day for 3- to 4-year-olds as well, according to the guidelines.

WHO also recommends that these children get 10 to 13 hours of quality sleep each day, which may include a nap.

The guidelines recommend for children in this age group to spend at least 180 minutes a day in a variety of physical activities, with at least 60 of those minutes involving moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activities such as games outdoors that require frequent running or jumping.

How to turn these recommendations into reality

The new guidelines are “straightforward” and “give parents some parameters to follow when it comes to sleep, physical activity and limiting screen time,” said Dr. Jennifer Shu, an Atlanta-based pediatrician and spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics, who was not involved in the WHO guidelines.

The guidelines are comparable to recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. For example, the academy similarly recommends to avoid digital media use for children younger than 24 months and to limit screen time to an hour a day for children 2 to 5.

“Too often, I see tired, overscheduled kids who eat on the run during the week and become sedentary on weekends because they are exhausted. These guidelines are a good reminder of how to stay healthy for the long term,” said Shu, co-author of the book “Heading Home With Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality.”

“Keep these guidelines in mind when planning your child’s daily routine. Make sleep and physical activity a priority,” she said. “By working on those aspects first, screen time and sedentary behaviors should naturally stay fairly low.”

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

This photo purports to show the suspected Chinese balloon flying over Mills River, North Carolina, ...
Heather Chen and Wayne Chang, CNN

China says it ‘reserves the right’ to deal with ‘similar situations’ after US shoot down suspected spy balloon

China says it "reserves the right" to deal with "similar situations" following the United States' decision to shoot down its high-altitude balloon.
10 hours ago
In the golden age of space exploration we live in, cosmic revelations seem to occur more frequently...
Ashley Strickland, CNN

Cosmic seaplanes and self-growing bricks could help us explore other worlds

In the golden age of space exploration we live in, cosmic revelations seem to occur more frequently than ever before.
1 day ago
The Chinese national flag is seen at the entrance to the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing...
By Zachary Cohen, CNN

A look at China’s history of spying in the US

The suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that violated American airspace this week has fueled a diplomatic crisis with the postponement of Secretary of State Antony Blinken's planned trip to Beijing.
1 day ago
Around 3:15 p.m. Saturday, February 4, a 34-year-old female sustained critical injuries after being...
Waverly Golden

AirMed responds to tubing accident in Peter Sinks, Logan

Around 3:15 p.m. Saturday, February 4, a 34-year-old female sustained critical injuries after being struck by a snowmobile.
1 day ago
A balloon flies in the sky over Billings, Montana, U.S. February 1, 2023, in this picture obtained ...
Zachary Cohen, CNN

US military has shot down the Chinese spy balloon off US East Coast, US official says

The US military has shot down the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon over the Atlantic Ocean off the Eastern Seaboard, a US official said Saturday.
1 day ago
The Goonies House...
Taylor Romine and Ralph Ellis, CNN

Man wanted for leaving a dead fish at ‘The Goonies’ house saved by Coast Guard in daring rescue

A man wanted by police in an incident at a house featured in "The Goonies" was the subject of a Coast Guard rescue when he was tossed from a stolen boat as it capsized, authorities said.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Exercise, sleep, screens: New guidelines for children under 5