Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth
The guidelines provide evidence-informed recommendations for a healthy day (24 h), comprising a combination of sleep, sedentary behaviours, light-, moderate-, and vigorous-intensity physical activity.
Tremblay, Mark S. et al. (2016). Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth: An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. 41(6): S311-S327. DOI:10.1139/apnm-2016-0151
Leaders from the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology convened representatives of national organizations, content experts, methodologists, stakeholders, and end-users who followed rigorous and transparent guideline development procedures to create the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth: An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep. These novel guidelines for children and youth aged 5-17 years respect the natural and intuitive integration of movement behaviours across the whole day (24-h period). The development process was guided by the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research Evaluation (AGREE) II instrument and systematic reviews of evidence informing the guidelines were assessed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) approach.
The new Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth: An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep represent a paradigm shift in thinking about daily movement behaviours. This fundamental shift from focusing on movement behaviours in isolation to the concept that “the whole day matters” is strongly supported by the available evidence. Consideration of all behaviours along the movement continuum as a collective is warranted, and holds promise in the promotion of population health. These are strong recommendations; the potential benefits of following these guidelines far exceed the potential risks. It is hoped that these guidelines open new avenues for population health promotion and instigate new research on the health effects of integrated movement behaviours.
The individual behaviour components of the 24-h guidelines have not changed significantly from earlier guidelines (Tremblay et al. 2011a, 2011b). The major change is the integration of all movement behaviours across the 24-h period, with the most notable additions being specific recommendations regarding light-intensity physical activity and sleep duration. There is growing evidence that while not as efficacious as MVPA, light-intensity physical activity is associated with some health benefits, especially when it replaces sedentary behaviours (Buman et al. 2014; Carson et al. 2013b, 2016b; Poitras et al. 2016; Stone and Faulkner 2014), although this area remains relatively understudied. There is also evidence of a “play movement” (Tremblay et al. 2015), where activities of all intensities, especially in nature and the outdoors, have been clearly associated with improved health. Furthermore, the promotion of active play for children and youth is more natural or “organic” than the regimented approach often taken to ensure children and youth get enough exercise, which may make it more scalable, appealing, accessible, and sustainable. Remarkably, the sleep component marks the first sleep guidelines for children and youth in Canada created using robust guideline development procedures. Integrating them into the 24-h period is even more groundbreaking.