UK: New Exercise Guidelines

On Monday, the British Health Department issued new guidelines for children aged five and under.  As a new way to curb obesity at a younger age, the guidelines state that a child must be active for at least three hours per day.

That may seem like a lot, but it does not all have to happen in one sitting.  The officials recommend that parents limit the amount of time they allow children to sit in strollers, watch “the telly” and bounce around in one of those stationary seats (see figure to left).  The government recommends children play on their bellies or put on their “swimming costumes” to play in the pool with parents. (Quite right, I will stop making fun of your funny British words :))

For children that can already walk, officials state that playing outside or walking to school fills up the three hour guideline.

Americans should heed these guidelines, as obesity has been shown to occur as early as pre-school. Like America, Britain’s recommendation for children aged 5-18 calls for at least one hour per day of physical activity.  And we think 20 minutes twice per week is tough…

More information on the UK guideline can be found in the Washington Post article (07.11.11).

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