Ribble Valley children urged to stay active and avoid illness this summer

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Parents and professionals in the Ribble Valley are being reminded about the importance of children being active enough.

New guidance released by the Chief Medical Officer makes recommendations about how much activity different age groups should do in a week to avoid preventable ill health. This includes advice about what types of exercise or activity young children should do too.

As the school holidays begin there’s lots of activities children can do that are not only free, but fun. Just going for a walk in the park, kicking a football, skipping or running around are all great ways to get children active. Even if the weather’s a bit gloomy, what about putting some music on and having a dance?

Being inactive is as bad for health as smoking, drinking too much alcohol and being overweight, but it can be worse as the damage being done is not always visible. Spending hours watching TV or playing computer games is thought to increase the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes, as well as weight gain and obesity.

The guidelines include:

Under 5s:

• Physical activity should be encouraged from birth, particularly through floor-based play and water-based activities in safe environments.

• Children of pre-school age who are capable of walking unaided should be physically active daily for at least 180 minutes (3 hours), spread throughout the day.

• All under 5s should minimise the amount of time spent being sedentary (being restrained or sitting) for extended periods (except time spent sleeping).

5-18 years:

• All children and young people should engage in moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity for at least 60 minutes and up to several hours every day.

• Vigorous intensity activities, including those that strengthen muscle and bone, should be incorporated at least three days a week.

• All children and young people should minimise the amount of time spent being sedentary (sitting) for extended periods.