Gym time recommended for babies

July 10, 2011

Child on trampoline

istockphoto

I remember as a child playing outside, building forts,skipping, climbing trees, playing hopscotch… Happy carefree days… no computers, no Xbox – gasp- no TV. I walked half a mile to elementary school every day. How did I survive? Am I giving my age away? You can bet your bottom booty I am.

A growing body of research is showing the importance of the first few years of life for future health. Only 30% of children are estimated to get the recommended amount of exercise,and childhood obesity is growing. According to the NHS National Obesity Observatory, 23% of children aged four to five are obese or overweight.

In Britain, new government guidelines will be issued this week by Professor Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England. These guidelines recommend that children under the age of five should take a minimum of three hours of exercise a day.They will say that “children under five should spend as little time as possible being restrained or sitting still except when they are sleeping”.

Babies should take part in swimming sessions and stretching and playing on “baby gym” activity mats, according to the guidance by the government’s chief medical officers. Toddlers should walk for at least 15 minutes of any routine journey, such as to and from nursery, they say. The advice, the first to target under-fives, comes amid growing concern about levels of childhood obesity and new research linking a lack of physical activity with poor brain development and social interaction.

Source: The Times

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