Canadians think obesity is by far the most important health issue facing children and youth today, according to a survey done for the Public Health Agency of Canada. Photograph by: Tony Gentile , Reuters

Canada: obesity prevails, physical fitness in decline

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) has developed the first Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for the Early Years for children aged 0 – 4 years.

These national guidelines were created in response to an urgent call from public health, health care, child care, and fitness practitioners for healthy active living guidance for children.

The recommendations come out of research looking at the relationships between physical activity and health indicators (healthy body weight, bone and skeletal health, motor skill development, psychosocial health, cognitive development, and cardio-metabolic disease risk factors) for three age groups.

For healthy growth and development:

  • Infants (from birth to 1 year) should be physically active several times daily, particularly through interactive floor-based play.
  • Toddlers (aged 1 – 2 years) and preschoolers (aged 3 – 4 years) should accumulate at least 180 minutes of physical activity at any intensity spread throughout the day, including a variety of activities in different environments, activities that develop movement skills, and progression toward at least 60 min of energetic play by 5 years of age.

And the more activity kids get, the greater the benefits.

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