The United Kingdom's 4 Chief Medical Officers recently published new physical activity guidelines covering early years, children and young people, adults, and older adults. This is the first time UK-wide physical activity guidelines have been produced and represents the first time guidelines have been produced in the UK for early years (under 5) in addition to sedentary behavior.
The guidelines, which show a clear link between physical activity and chronic disease, offer more flexibility for achieving the recommended levels of physical activity. They have a renewed focus on being active every day and spell out the recommended minimum levels of activity for each age group.
According to the guidance, physical activity should be encouraged from birth, particularly through floor-based play, such as "tummy time," and water-based activities in safe environments for children under 5 years of age who have not started to walk. Children under 5 who can walk should be active 3 hours each day, "walking/skipping to shops, a friend's home, a park, or to and from a school."
Children and young people (5-18 year olds) should participate in at least 60 minutes and up to several hours every day of moderate to vigorous physical activity. Three days a week they should include vigorous intensity activities that strengthen muscle and bone. Adults (19-64 years old) and older people (65+) should take part in 150 minutes each week of moderate to vigorous physical activity. Adults should aim to do some physical activity every day, and muscle strengthening activity should also be included twice a week.
The guidance also includes a review of the current scientific evidence linking sedentary behavior and obesity.
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