Table 1

Summary of current guidelines for physical activity (PA) in childhood

GuidelinesYearKey recommendations
Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (5–17 years)2012Children aged 5–17 years should engage daily in 60 min of moderate to vigorous PA. This should include: vigorous-intensity activities at least 3 days per week, activities that strengthen muscle and bone at least 3 days per week. For health benefits, children aged 5–17 years should minimise daily sedentary time by limiting screen time to no more than 2 h per day, limiting sedentary (motorised) transport, extended sitting and indoor time
UK Department of Health
PA Guidelines for Children and Young People (5–18 years)
2011Children and young people should engage in moderate to vigorous PA for at least 60 min and up to several hours every day. Vigorous intensity activities, including those that strengthen muscle and bone, should be incorporated at least 3 days a week.
All children and young people should minimise sedentary time
World Health Organisation
Global Recommendations on PA for Health (5–17 years old)
2011Children aged 5–17 years should accumulate at least 60 min of moderate to vigorous PA daily. Amounts of PA greater than 60 min provide additional health benefits.
Most of the daily PA should be aerobic. Vigorous-intensity activities should be incorporated, including those that strengthen muscle and bone, at least three times per week
US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) 2008 PA Guidelines for Americans (children and adolescents)2008Children and adolescents should do 60 min or more of PA daily. Most of the 60 min or more should be moderate or vigorous aerobic PA, and should include vigorous PA at least 3 days a week. As part of their 60 min daily PA, children and adolescents should include muscle and bone strengthening PA on at least 3 days of the week
Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing (5–18 years)2005A combination of moderate and vigorous activities for at least 60 min a day is recommended. Children should not spend more than 2 h a day using electronic media for entertainment, particularly during daylight hours