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Dutch physical activity advice for children aged 0-4 years

In 2017, the Health Council issued Physical Activity Guidelines for adults and children 4 and over, adults and senior citizens. At the request of the Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport, the Health Council reviewed whether science-based guidelines can be prepared for children under the age of 4.

The number of scientific studies done into physical activity and health in children aged 0 to 3 is currently limited. While it is clear that more physical activity and less sedentary behaviour are linked to better health and child development, no quantitative guidelines can be deduced from this data. The Health Council therefore advises to do more research. Pending this, youth health care and child care providers, for example, can refer to a recent report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for guidance. The WHO has relied on experts to develop quantitative physical activity recommendations despite the current lack of data.

The Health Council also looked into physical activity and health in children aged 4. The committee advises to supplement the existing guidelines for this group, as set out in the Physical activity guidelines 2017, with the WHO’s insights.