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Physical activity guidelines for Americans: Children and Adolescents

In 2008, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which provide science-based recommendations to help persons aged six years or older improve their health through physical activity. Included in these national guidelines is a chapter dedicated to physical activity recommendations for children and adolescents aged 6-17 years. These guidelines reflect the most up-to-date research about youth physical activity and associated health benefits.

Youth Physical Activity Guidelines

Children and adolescents should have 60 minutes (one hour) or more of physical activity daily.   

  • Aerobic: Most of the 60 or more minutes a day should be either moderate or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity and should include vigorous-intensity physical activity at least three days a week.
  • Muscle-strengthening: As part of their 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include muscle-strengthening physical activity on at least three days of the week.
  • Bone-strengthening: As part of their 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include bone-strengthening physical activity on at least three days of the week.

 

It is important to encourage young people to participate in physical activities that are appropriate for their age, that are enjoyable, and that offer variety.