27 Jul, 2020

Sedentary behaviour recommendations for early childhood

Early childhood (defined as 0-5 years) has been identified as a critical time in the development of sedentary behaviours as data shows that these behaviours track strongly into childhood and adolescence. Some sedentary behaviours are important for healthy child development (e.g., play-based activities). These are not the focus of this updated review. This review is more concerned with sedentary behaviours, such as screen time – inclusive of television watching, use of electronic media and use of tablets and phones – as this is where most of the evidence exists. It is also important to note that sedentary behaviour is not the opposite of physical activity; that is, just because a child is physically active does not mean he/she does not spend excessive time in sedentary behaviours.

In recent years, a number of countries and organizations have released sedentary behaviour recommendations for the early years (0-5 years). Such recommendations have been informed by current evidence pertaining to the relationship between health and developmental outcomes and sedentary behaviour in this age group and the “dose” of sedentary behaviour above which these health consequences become more pronounced. For some countries these guidelines form part of 24-Hour Movement Guidelines, which are inclusive of physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep.

See the sedentary behaviour recommendations for early childhood report