EXERCISE FOR UNDER-FIVESHere is a chance to develop your analytical skills as you attempt to make sense of this news item. Your task is to explore the issue using the question prompts we have included. You can then see if you can plan and write a concise response of 250 words to this controversial news article. 1. What are your thoughts on the UK Government’s recommendations?
2. Is it necessary to target children under 5 years old?
3. Given Australia’s battle with childhood obesity, should we be offering similar advice to parents?
4. Do we need to focus more on the issue of over-eating? See the table below, which illustrates the amount of exercise (in minutes) required to burn off the calories found in various junk foods.
Under-fives should exercise for at least three hours a day, say experts
Children under the age of five should exercise for at least three hours a day, new government guidelines will suggest.
Babies should be taken swimming and play on “baby gym” mats while toddlers should walk for at least 15 minutes of routine journeys such as to nursery, chief medical officers will say.
The exercise guidance, to be issued this week, targets under-fives for the first time. “For children that are not yet walking, there is considerable evidence that letting children crawl, play or roll around on the floor is essential during early years,” said England’s chief medical officer, Sally Davies.
“Play that allows under-fives to move about is critical and three hours a day is essential,” she told the Sunday Times. “I think there are parents who are not aware how important it is for their children to be physically active for a minimum of three hours. Other parents are very busy and may not see how important it is to get that prioritisation and balance right.”
According to NHS figures, nearly a quarter of children aged four and five are overweight or obese. Experts predict that by 2050 this could apply to 63% of children.
Professor Fiona Bull, chair of the scientific committee behind the guidelines and co-director of the British Heart Foundation National Centre for Physical Activity at Loughborough University, said parents should “turn the TV off”.
The advice follows warnings this month that England faces a liver disease “timebomb” because so many children are overweight. Professor Martin Lombard, national clinical director for liver at the Department of Health, said a culture of overeating was putting the lives of more than 500,000 young people at risk.