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24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth

A World First! The new Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth encourage children and youth to "Sweat, Step, Sleep and Sit".


The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) announces the world’s first 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth (5-17 years) released in the 2016 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth (release here). The new Canadian Guidelines: An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour and Sleep are the first evidence-based guidelines to address the whole day. Academic papers explaining the novel approach to the new guidelines are available in a special supplementary issue of CSEP’s official journal, Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism (APNM).

Research strongly shows the need for a new movement paradigm that emphasizes the integration of all movement behaviours occurring over a whole day, shifting the focus from the individual components to emphasize the whole (all physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep).

For optimal health benefits, children and youth (aged 5–17 years) should achieve high levels of physical activity, low levels of sedentary behaviour, and sufficient sleep each day. A healthy 24 hours includes:

  • Uninterrupted 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night for those aged 5–13 years and 8 to 10 hours per night for those aged 14–17 years, with consistent bed and wake-up times;
  • An accumulation of at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity involving a variety of aerobic activities. Vigorous physical activities and muscle and bone strengthening activities should each be incorporated at least 3 days per week;
  • Several hours of a variety of structured and unstructured light physical activities;
  • No more than 2 hours per day of recreational screen time;
  • Limited sitting for extended periods.

Preserving sufficient sleep, trading indoor time for outdoor time, and replacing sedentary behaviours and light physical activity with additional moderate to vigorous physical activity can provide greater health benefits.

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Support for the Exercise is Medicine® Initiative is provided by:

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Exercise is Medicine® is a global health initiative managed by the American College of Sports Medicine.