Eating for Life

March 10, 2004

How much activity is enough?

The assignment seemed straightforward. Amy Waters wanted her fourth-grade students to fill out a one-month calendar with an activity a day --- a physical activity a day.

The National Association for Sport & Physical Activity issued its first-ever guidelines for infants and toddlers in February 2002. In 2003, the association upped the activity ante for children ages 5 to 12.

It recommends that infants should:
Engage in daily activities geared at exploring their environment

Toddlers and preschoolers should:

  • Engage in structured physical play for at least 30 minutes (for toddlers) or 60 minutes (for preschoolers) daily
  • Play in an unstructured way for at least 60 minutes daily, and should not be sedentary for more than 60 consecutive minutes except when sleeping

Children ages 5 to 12 should:

  • Engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity almost every day, including several sessions lasting at least 15 minutes apiece
  • Avoid more than two consecutive hours of inactivity during the day

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