Supporting families to raise healthy kids

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman
Minister of Health

Minister for Sport and Recreation


31 May 2017

Health Minister and Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman has released the ‘Sit Less, Move More, Sleep Well: Active play guidelines for under-fives’.

“Regular active play and good quality sleep are important to every child’s health and development, but are particularly important for our young children,” says Dr Coleman.

“These are the first activity guidelines that support families to raise healthy under-fives by providing comprehensive advice on physical activity, active play, sleep and screen time for under-fives.

“New Zealand is the first country to integrate sleep with its advice for parents and caregivers of children under five years, which shows a more holistic approach to children’s health and development.”

The new guidelines, published by the Ministry of Health together with Sport New Zealand complement the physical activity guidelines for 5 – 17 year olds which were recently released.

They are one of a range of initiatives being undertaken as part of the Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan and are part of a wider work plan to ensure that New Zealanders live active, healthy lives.

One of the initiatives under the 22 point plan was the launch of the new raising healthy kids health target, making New Zealand one of the first countries to have a target around childhood obesity.

The latest results show that DHBs referred 86 per cent of obese children identified in B4 School Checks to a professional for clinical assessment and family based nutrition under the raising healthy kids target.

The advice in the guidelines includes:

  • Discouraging screen time for children under two and limiting screen time to less than one hour every day for children aged two and over
  • Providing regular activity breaks to limit the amount of time a child spends sitting
  • Plenty of opportunities for active play (at least three hours per day for toddlers and pre-schoolers)
  • Good-quality sleep of 14 to 17 hours every day (for babies), 12 to 15 hours every day (for infants), 11 to 14 hours every day (for toddlers), and 10 to 13 hours every day (for pre-schoolers), with consistent bed and wake-up times.

The guidelines were developed by the Ministry of Health, working with Sport New Zealand, the Health Promotion Agency and an advisory group of experts on physical activity and child health and wellbeing. The Ministry also consulted with a wide range of stakeholders.

The Sit Less, Move More, Sleep Well – Active play guidelines for under-fives are available here.

Media Contact: Shannon Stewart 027 426 6662

Last updated: Wednesday, May 31, 2017

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