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In 2006, only 42% of Washington 10th graders were physically active at the recommended level.
Physical activity is essential for a healthy childhood. Regular physical activity has beneficial effects on weight, muscular strength, cardio-respiratory fitness, bone mass, blood pressure, anxiety and stress, and self-esteem.(1,2)
Children are more likely to be active when families are active together and find ways to fit activities into each day. Here are the recommendations for children:
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education recommend that children and adolescents participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week, preferably daily. Any type of moderate or higher intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking, playing tag, jumping rope, or swimming count, as long as it is adds up to at least one hour a day.
The National Association for Sport and Physical Education recommends that infants (birth to 12 months old)should interact with parents and/or caregivers in daily physical activities that promote exploration of their environment. Toddlers (12-36 months) should accumulate at least 30 minutes daily of structured physical activity, preschoolers (3-5 years) at least 60 minutes. Toddlers and preschoolers should engage in at least 60 minutes of unstructured physical activity and should not be sedentary for more than 60 minutes at a time, except when sleeping.
The following recommendations can help children be active.