Intended for healthcare professionals


New advice on physical activity aims to prevent chronic disease from early years

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 12 July 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d4457
  1. Matthew Billingsley
  1. 1BMJ

Children aged under 5 years should be physically active for at least three hours every day to stay healthy, while children aged 5-18 should have at least one hour of exercise a day, say new guidelines. Adults should aim for 150 minutes of physical activity a week.

The guidelines on physical activity and fitness have been endorsed by the United Kingdom’s four chief medical officers to try to reduce the risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and obesity.

Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer, said that currently less than 30% of children and 40% of adults in the UK get enough physical activity. The new guidelines offer advice for specific age groups and show that “a …

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