By Christine Elston
Exercise and eating habits that could prevent lifelong obesity take root early, so pediatricians are urging that 3- and 4-year-olds get at least an hour of active play each day and eat five servings of fruits and vegetables.
Stephen R. Daniels, lead author of a statement recently published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, says that physical activity need not take place all at once, and it should focus on fun.
“For toddlers the biggest issue is for them to enjoy being active,” says Daniels, a professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “I think the best concept is to put them in a safe environment with some interesting things to play with (balls, etc.) and let them go.”
Keep your eye on the amount of time kids spend not moving. “Children under age 2 should not watch any TV,” Daniels advises. “Older children should have their screen time (TV, video games, computer) limited to no more than two hours per day.”
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