You just can’t overstress the importance of exercise in the world that we now live in. With a very large percentage of the population already being classified as obese and more seeming to be headed in the same direction, exercise may just be the most important word in the dictionary right now. It’s also not just about obesity, heart disease, various cancers and many more diseases are being linked to lack of physical activity. Now that obesity has trickled down to kids who are younger than six, it is important that the culture of exercise is passed on to kids in the age group of 2 to 5 years. There is however a question of how much exercise is adequate for kids at this age.

3 hours of exercise

In 2010, the department of health in Australia stated that preschoolers and toddlers needed to be active for a minimum of 3 hours on any given day. A year later the Institute of Medicine in the U.S. recommended 15 minutes per hour of vigorous, moderate and light physical activity. This translates to 3 hours every day assuming the child is awake for twelve hours. A recommendation similar to this one was also made by United Kingdom’s Chief medical officers. Therefore three different bodies in three separate occasions came to the conclusion that on any given day children in the age group of 2 to 6 required 3 hours of physical activity.

These recommendations all came as a result of the rising cases of obesity in kids who were aged between 2 and 5 years old. The numbers have risen by 26.7 percent since the 70s which is a shocking statistic. The difficulty is the fact that there has been not data which can correctly provide the exact number of hours that the kids needed to be active and this means that there is very little in terms of guidelines. According to accelerometers that kids were fitted with, the physical activity for kids in this age group was sporadic and non-vigorous.

Previous guidelines for other age groups

In the past there were guidelines which were provided that recommended an hour of physical activity every day for people who were between the ages of 6 and 17. For adults the recommended time was half of this. There were however no guidelines that were provided for the children who were under the age of six. One hour of physical activity was previously suggested kids aged between 3 and 5 years by other organizations.

While it is possible to debate on whether or not three hours is too much or too little time spent on physical activity, what this recommendation does show is that there is importance of physical activity at all age levels. One of the most important things to note is that if the children are indulged in a culture of exercise from their early years then this culture will likely carry on later in life. With a culture of constant exercise the obesity problem will soon be a thing of the past.