Fitness for Under Fives

Did you know?

According to NHS figures, nearly a quarter of children aged four and five are overweight or obese. Experts predict that by 2050 this could apply to 63% of children.
The general message from the British Heart Foundation is “parents should turn the TV off. Too much TV sets up problems for the future”.

What can we do?

Minimise the time children spend sitting watching TV, playing computer games and travelling by car, bus or train. For this age group, activity of any intensity should be encouraged, including light activity and more energetic physical activity.


Babies should be encouraged to be active from birth. Before your baby begins to crawl, encourage them to be physically active by reaching and grasping, pulling and pushing, moving their head, body and limbs during daily routines, and during supervised floor play, 
including tummy time.

Once babies can move around, encourage them to be as active as possible in a safe, supervised and nurturing play environment.


Children who can walk on their own should be physically active every day for at least 180 minutes (3 hours). This should be spread throughout the day, indoors or outside. The 180 minutes can include light activity such as standing up, moving around, rolling and playing, as 
well as more energetic activity like skipping, 
hopping, running and jumping. Active play, such as using a climbing frame, riding a bike, playing in water, gymnastics, chasing games and ball games, is the best way for this age group to be physically active.

All children under 5 years old

Children under 5 should not be inactive for long periods, except when they’re asleep. Watching TV, travelling by car, bus or train or being strapped into a buggy for long periods are not good for a child’s health and development. There’s growing evidence that such behaviour can increase their risk of poor health.

All children under 5 who are overweight can improve their health by meeting the activity guidelines, even if their weight doesn’t change. To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, they may need to do additional activity and make changes to their diet.

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