WHO / CHILDREN PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

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24-Apr-2019 00:03:14
According to new guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), children under five must spend less time sitting watching screens, or restrained in prams and seats, get better quality sleep and have more time for active play if they are to grow up healthy. WHO

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STORY: WHO / CHILDREN PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
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SOURCE: WHO
RESTRICTION: PLEASE CREDIT WHO ON SCREEN
LANGUAGES: ENGLISH / FRENCH / NATS

DATELINE: 24 APRIL 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / FILE

SHOTLIST:

FILE - WHO - JULY 2013, HELSINKI, FINLAND

1. Wide shot, children playing at the swing

24 APRIL 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Fiona Bull, Programme Manager, Surveillance and Population-based Prevention, Department of Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases, World Health Organization (WHO):
“For physical activity has got many benefits across the life course and it's become apparent that we need to focus on little children as much as we do on older children and adults. Young children start off being very active. But the way our lifestyles are now shaped by use of the car, by use of electronic equipment, by the ways in which we recreate, children are spending less time moving. That means they're not getting the physical and motor skill development, not getting the energy expenditure,not enjoying play with friends, family parents, and all of those are important components of healthy lifestyle. So we focus the effort to develop guidelines to guide parents, caregivers, kindergartens, childcare centres on what's the best environment and ways in which to promote physical activity in this age group.”

FILE - WHO - JULY 2013, HELSINKI, FINLAND

3. Wide shot, children playing at the swing

24 APRIL 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

4. SOUNDBITE (French) Dr Juana Willumsen, WHO focal point for childhood obesity and physical activity:
“These three activities - physical activity, sedentary screen time and sleep have a very important correlation, especially for very young children. Good quality sleep assures that children are well rested during a day, so they can play and learn and to develop. Recommended duration of the physical activities that we recommend, which is about three hours a day, helps develop not only muscles and body but it also facilitates mental, emotional and social development of a child. But for the same reason, the sleep time needs to be respected so that they are well rested during a day and are able to use it fully.”

FILE - WHO - JULY 2013, HELSINKI, FINLAND

5. Wide shot, a child riding bike

24 APRIL 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

6. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Juana Willumsen, WHO focal point for childhood obesity and physical activity:
“Parents are really important role models for their children both in their own enjoyment of physical activity and restricting their screen time, but also in making opportunities for their children to be able to play be physically active, to ensure that they get quality sleep. That includes having regular bedtimes and wake up times, a calming routine to help them get to sleep, and also ensuring that they replace sedentary passive screen time with interactive play. That's storytelling, reading with children - interacting with a caregiver is so important for child development that these are the activities we really want to prioritize.”

FILE - WHO - JULY 2013, HELSINKI, FINLAND

7. Wide shot, children playing at the swing

STORYLINE:

According to new guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), children under five must spend less time sitting watching screens, or restrained in prams and seats, get better quality sleep and have more time for active play if they are to grow up healthy.

Speaking to reporter, WHO’s official Fiona Bull said “for physical activity has got many benefits across the life course and it's become apparent that we need to focus on little children as much as we do on older children and adults.”

She added, “young children start off being very active. But the way our lifestyles are now shaped by use of the car, by use of electronic equipment, by the ways in which we recreate, children are spending less time moving. That means they're not getting the physical and motor skill development, not getting the energy expenditure, not enjoying play with friends, family parents, and all of those are important components of healthy lifestyle. So we focus the effort to develop guidelines to guide parents, caregivers, kindergartens, childcare centres on what's the best environment and ways in which to promote physical activity in this age group.”

The new guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children under 5 years of age were developed by a WHO panel of experts. They assessed the effects on young children of inadequate sleep, and time spent sitting watching screens or restrained in chairs and prams. They also reviewed evidence around the benefits of increased activity levels.

Dr Juana Willumsen, WHO’s focal point for childhood obesity and physical activity said, “these three activities - physical activity, sedentary screen time and sleep have a very important correlation, especially for very young children. Good quality sleep assures that children are well rested during a day, so they can play and learn and to develop. Recommended duration of the physical activities that we recommend, which is about three hours a day, helps develop not only muscles and body but it also facilitates mental, emotional and social development of a child. But for the same reason, the sleep time needs to be respected so that they are well rested during a day and are able to use it fully.”

She also said, “parents are really important role models for their children both in their own enjoyment of physical activity and restricting their screen time, but also in making opportunities for their children to be able to play be physically active, to ensure that they get quality sleep. That includes having regular bedtimes and wake up times, a calming routine to help them get to sleep, and also ensuring that they replace sedentary passive screen time with interactive play. That's storytelling, reading with children - interacting with a caregiver is so important for child development that these are the activities we really want to prioritize.”

Failure to meet current physical activity recommendations is responsible for more than five million deaths globally each year across all age groups. Currently, over 23 per cent of adults and 80 per cent of adolescents are not sufficiently physically active. If healthy physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep habits are established early in life, this helps shape habits through childhood, adolescence and into adulthood.

The pattern of overall 24-hour activity is key: replacing prolonged restrained or sedentary screen time with more active play, while making sure young children get enough good-quality sleep. Quality sedentary time spent in interactive non-screen-based activities with a caregiver, such as reading, storytelling, singing and puzzles, is very important for child development.

The important interactions between physical activity, sedentary behaviour and adequate sleep time, and their impact on physical and mental health and wellbeing, were recognized by the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity, which called for clear guidance on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep in young children.

Applying the recommendations in these guidelines during the first five years of life will contribute to children’s motor and cognitive development and lifelong health.
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