Move more, sit less and make sure you get enough sleep is the latest health message for Aussie children and young people.
The new 24-hour movement guidelines (5 to 17 years) – launched by Minister for Sport Bridget McKenzie last week – have been developed to help parents, carers and educators, as well as young people and children, create healthy daily routines.
Bicycle Network was part of the stakeholder consultation group which included experts and academics from a range of health and physical activity fields.
It is the first set of Australian guidelines to integrate sleep with physical activity and sedentary behaviours (including recreational screen time) across a full 24-hour period. It acknowledges that all movement behaviours matter across the whole day.
Currently, two-thirds of Australian children aged two to 17 years don’t get enough physical activity to maintain their health and happiness. This number is even worse when we look at activity among young girls. Instead, more than half (56.8 per cent) are glued to screens for 10 or more hours per week.
The guidelines recommend that children and adolescents get:
- At least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day involving mainly aerobic activities that makes their heart beat faster—more is better.
- Several hours of a variety of light physical activities
- Limiting sedentary screen time to no more than 2 hours per day
- Breaking up long periods of sitting as often as possible
- An uninterrupted 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night for those aged 5-13 years and 8 to 10 hours of sleep for those aged 14-17 years.
- Consistent bed and wake-up times
Being active every day is important for children and young people as it can lay the foundations for a lifetime of healthy habits.
Countless studies show that children and young people who are physically active are not only healthier and happier, they’re more resilient, independent, connected to their communities and find it easier to learn and retain information.
Bicycle Network strongly believes that making it easier to actively travel to and from school is one of the best ways for children and adolescents to get the recommended 60 minutes they need.
For more than 10 years, Bicycle Network's Ride2School program has been successfully working with school communities to help reduce the barriers to active travel.
Schools engaged in the Ride2School program report an average active travel rate (inclusive of riding, walking, scooting or skating) of 45%, compared to the national average of roughly 20%.