The amount of time young children are kept strapped in buggies or car seats should be kept to a minimum, while developing an active lifestyle should be a priority.
Not only is the amount of exercise a child a significant factor in avoiding obesity, but it’s also linked to healthy brain development.
An active lifestyle should be encouraged from birth, including playing on activity mats or going swimming. Once a child can walk they should be moving around for at least three hours every day.
Some parents may find it hard to believe that their child could fail to be active for just three hours every day, yet it’s a sad fact that some young children are not encouraged to exercise. Recent figures from the Department of Health suggest that just one in three children aged between two and 15 get the recommended amount of daily exercise.
The chief medical officer for England, Dame Sally Davies, said that there was considerable evidence that allowing children to crawl, play or roll around on the floor was essential.
“Play that allows under-fives to move about is critical and three hours a day is essential,” she said.
“I think there are parents who are not aware how important it is for their children to be physically active for a minimum of three hours,” she continued. “Other parents are very busy and may not see how important it is to get that prioritisation and balance right.”