Home » Physical activity, sedentary behavior and sleep in preschool children | Opinion

Physical activity, sedentary behavior and sleep in preschool children | Opinion

by Naomi Parham

The early childhood It is fundamental because it is a period of physical and mental development, in which healthy lifestyle habits as a regular practice physical activity, decreased sedentary time and adequate sleep quality.

Balancing these behaviors (physical activity, sedentary behavior, and sleep) has many health benefits in aspects of physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development in preschool children.

Improving physical activity, sedentary behaviors and sleep in preschoolers will contribute to their physical and mental health and well-being, reduce the risk of developing childhood obesity and associated non-communicable diseases more late in life.

Thus, recommendations were established over a 24-hour period, since the day is made up of time and hours of sleep, time devoted to sedentary activities and time devoted to physical activity of moderate or vigorous intensity.

The World Health Organization (2019 and 2010) recommends that boys and girls aged 1-2 years should spend 180 minutes in different types of physical activity of any intensity, including moderate-to-vigorous, spread throughout the day. Do not remain immobilized for more than an hour at a time and do not sit for long periods.

It is recommended to have 11 to 14 hours of good quality sleep, including naps, with regular periods of sleep and wakefulness.

Preschoolers 3 to 4 years old should spend at least 180 minutes engaging in multiple physical activities of any intensity, including at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity spread throughout throughout the day. Don’t stand still for more than an hour at a time and don’t sit for long periods of time; and getting 10 to 13 hours of good quality sleep, which may include a nap, with regular periods of sleep and wakefulness.

Children are not recommended to spend idle time in front of a screen. It is recommended that when inactive, children, parents or guardians participate in reading or storytelling.

The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines (2017) recommend that 5-year-old boys and girls accumulate at least 60 minutes a day of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, which involves a variety of activities, with no more than 2 hours per day of recreational screen time. For sleep, 9-11 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night is suggested.

It is essential that parents, caregivers and the community in general pay attention to the healthy lifestyles of this population, encouraging them to have a variety of opportunities for practice, involving activities that allow children to move through the space or to move their body from one point to another. another such as running, jumping, walking, hopping and galloping, activities that involve manipulating or controlling objects such as throwing, kicking, catching, hitting, rolling and dribbling with various materials and textures, and activities that involve balance such as standing on one foot, walking on a rope or a bench.

The interests and abilities of boys and girls are similar, without the need for separate activities during this period, so it is necessary to involve girls in the same activities as boys, without making differences.

Likewise, it is recommended to give boys and girls more time to play outdoors, such as in squares, patios, multi-courts, among others.

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