How much sleep should my child be getting? How much exercise per day should my preschooler be engaged in?
These are the type of questions which the new Singapore Integrated 24-Hour Activity Guidelines for Early Childhood seek to address.
Developed by the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH)-led Integrated Platform for Research in Advancing Metabolic Health Outcomes of Women and Children (IPRAMHO), Singapore’s first set of activity guidelines for early childhood was launched by on 21 January 2022 by Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Manpower.
Setting a Strong and Healthy Foundation from Early Childhood
Singapore Integrated 24-Hour Activity Guidelines for Early Childhood aims to set a strong foundation for healthy lifestyle behaviours and good long-term health outcomes in young children under seven years of age. This will also contribute towards improving national health.
The guidelines cover four main areas – physical activity, sedentary behaviour, sleep, as well as diet and eating habits. Its recommendations are based on locally and globally established studies and best practices, and a recent KKH-led survey.
Professor Tan Kok Hian, Head and Senior Consultant, Perinatal Audit and Epidemiology Unit, KKH, and Lead Principal Investigator of IPRAMHO, said, “Over the past five years, there has been emerging evidence that shows that physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for young children are closely related. Linked to this are eating behaviours and calorie intake. Together, these have a significant impact on a child’s health outcome.”
Singapore Integrated 24-Hour Activity Guidelines For Early Childhood
The guidelines include:
For infants (under one year):
- Have at least 30 mins of tummy time (an exercise which involves laying the baby on
his/her tummy) in a day.
- No screen viewing time, including background screen time.
- Avoid restraining and leaving infants unattended for more than one hour at a time.
- Have a total of 14 to 17 hours of sleep daily (up to three months) and 12 to 15 hours
of sleep daily (four to 11 months), including naps.
- Meals to be spaced two to three hours apart to avoid overfeeding.
For toddlers (one to under three years):
- Accumulate at least 180 minutes of a variety of physical activities in a day, with outdoor
active play highly encouraged.
- No screen time for those under 18 months of age and less than one hour for those 18
months and above.
- Avoid restraining toddlers in a seat for more than an hour at a time.
- Have a total of 11 to 14 hours of sleep daily, and regular sleep and wake times.
- Introduce healthy family meals, and offer whole milk and water while establishing a
structured routine for meal and snack times.
For preschoolers (three to under seven years):
- Accumulate at least 180 minutes of a variety of physical activities in a day, including a
minimum of 60 minutes of activities of moderate to vigorous intensity. More is better.
- Recreational screen viewing time to be limited to less than one hour.
- Have a total of 10 to 13 hours of sleep daily (three to five years) or nine to 11 hours of
sleep daily (six years).
- Encourage healthy eating habits as a family, with caregivers
To view the guidelines in full, click here.