The new guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behavior and sleep for children under five were developed by a WHO panel of experts.
AFP
Who wants less ‘screen time’ for kids
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - April 28, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Children aged two to four should not be allowed more than one hour watching electronic screens, while those less than one-year-old should not be exposed to gadgets at all, new guidelines by the World Health Organization (WHO) noted.

“Children under five must spend less time sitting and watching screens or restrained in prams and seats, get better quality sleep and have more time for active play if they are to grow up healthy,” the WHO guidelines added.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus maintained in a statement that achieving health means doing what is best for health right from the beginning of people’s lives.

The new guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behavior and sleep for children under five were developed by a WHO panel of experts. 

They assessed the effects on children of inadequate sleep and time spent sitting and watching screens or restrained in chairs and prams. They also reviewed evidence of the benefits of increased activity levels.

WHO program manager for surveillance and population-based prevention of noncommunicable diseases Fiona Bull noted that improving physical activity, reducing sedentary time and ensuring quality sleep in young children will improve their physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Bull added that these will also help prevent childhood obesity and associated diseases later in their lives.

Failure to meet current physical activity recommendations, the WHO said, is responsible for more than five million deaths globally each year across all age groups.  

Over 23 percent of adults and 80 percent of adolescents are not sufficiently physically active.

If healthy physical activity, sedentary behavior and sleep habits are established early in life, this helps shape habits through childhood, adolescence and into adulthood, the WHO added.

The guidelines showed that infants or those less than one year old should be physically active several times a day in a variety of ways, particularly through interactive floor-based play.

“More is better,” the WHO guidelines said.

For those not yet mobile, physical activity includes at least 30 minutes in prone position or “tummy time” spread throughout the day while awake. 

The WHO said infants should not be restrained for more than one hour at a time in prams, strollers, high chairs or strapped on a caregiver’s back.

“Screen time is not recommended. When sedentary, engaging in reading and storytelling with a caregiver is encouraged,” the WHO maintained.  

Those below three months of age should have 14 to 17 hours of good quality sleep, including naps, while those aged four to 11 months should have 12 to 16 hours. 

Those aged one to two should spend at least 180 minutes in a variety of types of physical activity at any intensity, including moderate-to-vigorous  physical activity, spread throughout the day but still “more is better.”

“For one-year-olds, sedentary screen time (such as watching TV or videos or playing computer games) is not recommended,” the WHO added.

For those aged two years, sedentary screen time should not be more than one hour but less is better. When sedentary, engaging in reading and storytelling with a caregiver is also encouraged.

The WHO maintained that the sedentary screen time of children aged three to four years should not be more than one hour but “less is better.”

CHILDREN ELECTRONIC SCREENS GADGETS WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
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