For First Time, WHO Weighs In on Screen Time

04/27/2019 03:00 | NaN

For First Time, WHO Weighs In on Screen Time

"This is about making the shift from sedentary time to playtime", Juana Willumsen, WHO's point person for childhood obesity and physical activity, said in a statement.

According to the guidelines, children aged one to four should only be given a maximum of one hour in front of the screen every day. "We see that childhood obesity rates are rising dramatically, and it's ever more evident that prevention needs to start early".

How children spend their 24 hours a day is very important to their development, and replacing prolonged sedentary screen time with more active play and quality sleep is recommended.

Screen time for children below five years of age should not be more than one hour, World Health Organisation (WHO) advised in a recently released report.

Overall, children under five must spend less time sitting and watching screens, but also spend less sedentary time sitting in strollers and vehicle seats, according to the recommendations.

Dr. Max Davie, the college's Officer for Health Improvement, told TIME, "Our research has shown that now there is not strong enough evidence to support the setting of screen time limits", adding, "The restricted screen time limits suggested by WHO do not seem proportionate to the potential harm".

The WHO said under-fives should be physically active and getting plenty of sleep, under-fives would establish healthy habits through adolescence and into adulthood. Sleep should be 11 to 14 hours per day, spread through naps and nighttime sleep at regular wake-up times. The agency recommends that at least 60 minutes of that time be moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity. "It helps with core and neck strength, and to keep the head from being flattened from all the back time that we need to have".

"I think they're great recommendations", says Robert C. Hamilton, M.D., a pediatrician at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California.

"It's really about ensuring that children have that opportunity for active play", she said.

3- to 4-year-olds shouldn't go over one hour of screen time.

Absolutely no screen time at this age, and good quality sleep of about 14 to 17 hours for aged 0 to 3 months, 12 to 16 hours for aged 4 to 11 months should be achieved. The health agency also notes that older children should do some physical activity for at least three hours daily.

World Health Organization suggests children who must be sedentary engage in reading and storytelling with a caregiver when possible.

The guidelines are comparable to recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Busy parents who make instant caregivers out of tablets and televisions may want to change their strategy. These guidelines are a good reminder of how to stay healthy for the long term", said Shu, co-author of the book "Heading Home With Your Newborn: "From Birth to Reality". These guidelines have been created keeping in mind a holistic growth of the child.


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