Kids Aged Below Five Spending Long Hours Before Screens Can Develop Obesity And Associated Diseases: WHOA child watching a cartoon series on television. (Pixabay/Vidmir Raic)

According to the new guidelines released by WHO on Tuesday (24 April), children under the age of five must spend less time sitting watching screens or restrained in prams and seats.

World Health Organisation (WHO) which functions as a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) also advised that children should get better quality sleep and have more time for active play if they are to grow up healthy.

“Improving physical activity, reducing sedentary time and ensuring quality sleep in young 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.

Not Just For Kids

Studies show that failure to meet current physical activity recommendations is responsible for more than 5 million deaths globally each year across all age groups. WHO added that presently over 23 per cent of adults and 80 per cent of adolescents do not devote enough time to physical activity.

“What we really need to do is bring back play for children,” says Dr Juana Willumsen, WHO focal point for childhood obesity and physical activity. “This is about making the shift from sedentary time to playtime while protecting sleep.”

Also Read: Why We Need Swachh Bharat: India’s Infant Mortality Rate Down, But Still The Highest In The World, Says UN Report

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