The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised parents against allowing their children spend longer time watching televisions.
WHO said children, especially those under five, must spend less time sitting watching screens, or restrained in prams and seats.
It also said that it is important for children to get better quality sleep and have more time for active play if they are to grow up healthy.
According to new guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), achieving health for all means doing what is best for health right from the beginning of people’s lives.
In a statement published on its website, WHO's director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said early childhood is a period of rapid development and a time when family lifestyle patterns can be adapted to boost health gains.
The statement also said that the new guidelines which was developed by a WHO panel of experts assessed the effects on young children of inadequate sleep, and time spent sitting watching screens or restrained in chairs and prams.
The experts, in addition, reviewed evidence around the benefits of increased activity levels.
“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,” Fiona Bull, programme manager for surveillance and population-based prevention of noncommunicable diseases, at WHO said.
It was also noted that any failure to meet current physical activity recommendations is responsible for more than five million deaths globally each year across all age groups.
According to WHO, over 23% of adults and 80% of adolescents are currently not sufficiently physically active.
“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. “
The organisation said the important interactions between physical activity, sedentary behaviour and adequate sleep time, and their impact on physical and mental health and wellbeing, were recognized by the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity.
It said the commission also called for a clear guidance on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep in young children, adding that applying the recommendations in these guidelines during the first five years of life will contribute to children’s motor and cognitive development and lifelong health.
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Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) says an estimated 169 million children missed out on the first dose of the measles vaccine between 2010 and 2017 or 21.1 million children a year on average.
UNICEF’s executive director, Henrietta Fore, in commemoration of the World Immunisation Week marked annually between April 24 and 30, said the widening pockets of unvaccinated children have created a pathway to the measles outbreaks hitting several countries around the world today.
Also, the ground for the global measles outbreaks we are witnessing today was laid years ago; the measles virus will always find unvaccinated children.
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