Cancer Council has backed new federal guidelines recommending kids and teens exercise for at least 60 minutes a day and limit electronic media use to no more than two hours a day.
Last week, the Federal Department of Health updated Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior Guidelines, emphasising the link between sedentary behavior’s in childhood and increased risk of chronic disease.
The guidelines recommend Australian children aged 5 to 17 break up long periods of sitting as often as possible, minimising the use of electronic media (TV, DVDs, computer and other electronic games) to no more than two hours a day.
The guidelines also suggest a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day, including muscle and bone strengthening activities on at least three days of the week.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said the updated recommendations were important for a child’s long term health.
“Engaging in physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight reduces the risk of a range of chronic diseases, including some cancers,” Ms. Clift said.
“Helping our children create healthy, active lifestyles from a young age is imperative in improving their health for the long term.
“Seize opportunities to help your kids move more – walking or riding to school, participating in organised sports like netball or soccer during the week, or scheduling a visit to the park.
“It’s important to limit sedentary activities – even if children are very physically active, they may experience negative health effects from sitting for long periods each day.
“Giving gifts like skipping ropes and balls is a great way to encourage active play, setting a ‘no screen time’ rule at dinner or making your child’s bedroom a TV or computer free zone may also help.”
The guidelines suggest children get involved in a variety of sports and activities, and play traditional outdoor games like tag, hopscotch and tug-of-war to get moving.
The recommendations also cited the 60 minutes of physical activity could be accumulated throughout the day, and didn’t need to be scheduled all at once.
Cancer Council Queensland recommends children start slowly if they have not been physically active for some time, and stay Sun Smart when participating in outdoor activities.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland and being physically active is available via Cancer Council Helpline
For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland