Health guidance

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 The guidance from the National institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) takes as its premise that children and young people should take part in physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity for at elast 60 minutes each day. At least twice a week this hould include weight-bearing activites that produce high physical stresses to improve bone health, muscle strength and flexibility. This can be achieved in short, 10-minmute bouts. This might include a wide variety of activities including formal exercise to active play, skateboarding, swimming, dancnng cyclig.


Recommendations for teachers from the guidance include:

Recommendation 13 'Helping children to be active' :

• Provide a range of indoor and outdoor physical activities for children on a daily basis, including opportunities for unstructured, spontaneous play.

• Tailor activities according to the child’s developmental age and physical ability. Ensure they are inclusive, progressive and enjoyable. The activities should develop the child’s movement skills (such as crawling, running, hopping, skipping, climbing, throwing, catching and kicking a ball). Children should also experience more advanced activities such as swimming, cycling, playing football and dancing.

• Provide opportunities at intervals throughout the day in pre-school establishments; during playtimes and lunch breaks at school; as part of extra-curricular and extended school provision; and during leisure time (including weekends and holidays) in wider community settings and the private sector.

• Help children identify activities they can enjoy by themselves and those they can enjoy with their friends and families.


Recommendation 14 'Helping girls and young women to be active :

• Support participants of all abilities in a non-judgemental and inclusive way. Emphasise the opportunities for participation, enjoyment and personal development, rather than focusing on the evaluation of performance.

• Encourage those who initially choose not to participate to be involved with physical activities in other ways. Help them move gradually towards full participation.

• Encourage a dress code that minimises their concerns about body image. It should be practical, affordable and acceptable to them, without compromising their safety or restricting participation.

• Provide appropriate role models


Recommendation 15 'Helping families to be active' :


• Ensure parents and carers are aware of government advice that children and young people should undertake a minimum of 60 minutes moderate to vigorous physical activity a day. Make them aware that, at least twice a week, this should include activities to improve bone health, muscle strength and flexibility.

• Provide information and advice on the benefits of physical activity, emphasising how enjoyable it is. Provide examples of local opportunities.

• Encourage parents and carers to get involved in physical activities with their children.

• Encourage parents and carers to complete at least some local journeys (or some part of a local journey) with young children using a physically active mode of travel. This should take place on most days of the week. The aim is to establish physically active travel (such as walking or cycling) as a life-long habit from an early age. Parents and carers should also be encouraged to allow their children to become more independent, by gradually allowing them

to walk, cycle or use another physically active mode of travel for short distances.

• Act as a role model by incorporating physical activity into daily life. For example, opt for travel involving physical activity (such as walking or cycling), use the stairs and regularly participate in recreational activities or sport.

• Promote physically active travel as an option for all the family. Raise awareness of how it can help children and young people achieve the recommended daily amount of physical activity.



NHS National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence 'Promoting physical activity for children and young people' January 2009