We hear it every day – childhood obesity rates are reaching epic proportions paving the way for a generation of adults prone to ill health and cardiovascular disease. But do you know how much activity your kids should be doing daily? Current guidelines focus on youngsters over the age of 10 but what about the little ones? A new study published in the open access journal BMC Medicine suggests 60-85 minutes of physical activity is recommended per day, including 20 minutes of vigorous activity. Are your kids getting enough?
We all know that exercise is well documented to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in adults but a recent study has been undertaken to look at the link between physical activity and cardiovascular disease risk in kids 9 years and younger. They calculated their risk of CVD by looking at factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels and skinfold thickness, and found that 15% of the 3000 or so 2-9 year olds studied had adverse CVD risk profiles. Unhealthy profiles were even spotted in very young children aged 2-6 years old, and differed between the sexes. The team recommended gender and age specific guidelines to help counter these unhealthy profiles. Boys under 6 years old need over 70 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise daily, where-as boys aged 6-9 need over 80 minutes. Girls in either age group need around the 60 minute mark that was suggested in previous guidelines.
The findings refine the previous more generalized guidelines for children which estimated that kids require around an hour of daily moderate-to-vigorous exercise to improve health. So get your kids away from the computer and TV and get them out and about to ensure they have a happy and healthy life.