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‘Screen time shouldn’t exceed 1hr for children under five’

WHO issues a guideline for children

SAMAA | - Posted: Apr 26, 2019 | Last Updated: 3 years ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Apr 26, 2019 | Last Updated: 3 years ago

Photo: AFP

The World Health Organisation has issued a guideline for how much screen time children under five years should get.  

The UN health agency said on Friday that children less than 1 years old should not have any screen time while those under five should not be given more than one hour of screen time daily.

The guidelines were part of a campaign to tackle the global obesity crisis and ensure that youngsters grow up fit, particularly since development in the first five years of life contributes to a child’s motor and cognitive development and lifelong health.

“Improving physical activity, reducing sedentary time and ensuring quality sleep in children will improve their physical, mental health and wellbeing and help prevent childhood obesity and associated diseases later in life,” says Dr Fiona Bull, programme manager for surveillance and population-based prevention of noncommunicable diseases, at WHO.

Related: 13 children declared HIV positive

However, taking away iPads and other electronic devices is only part of the solution. Children under five should also get more exercise and sleep to develop better habits, said WHO.

Failure to meet current physical activity recommendations leads to more than 5 million deaths globally each year across all age groups.

New guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children under five years of age have been developed by a WHO panel of experts.

The experts assessed the effects on children of inadequate sleep and time spent sitting watching screens or restrained in chairs and prams. They also reviewed the evidence around the benefits of increased activity levels.

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