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Children and young people

This set of guidelines applies to children and young people aged between 5 and 18 years. During this period, children and young people establish behaviour patterns that have important implications for both their immediate and long-term health and wellbeing.

Physical activity guidelines for children and young people

  • Children and young people should engage in moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity for an average of at least 60 minutes per day across the week. This can include all forms of activity such as physical education, active travel, after-school activities, play and sports.
  • Children and young people should engage in a variety of types and intensities of physical activity across the week to develop movement skills, muscular fitness, and bone strength.
  • Children and young people should aim to minimise the amount of time spent being sedentary, and when physically possible should break up long periods of not moving with at least light physical activity.

These guidelines are designed to help professionals and practitioners working with children and young people understand the type and amount of physical activity children and young people should do to benefit their health.

Support and dissemination

Practical ideas for promoting physical activity

We have also produced two practice briefings looking at practical strategies for promoting physical activity with children (aged 6-11) and young people (aged 11-18). These briefings provide evidence-based suggestions and practical ideas.

Children aged 6-11
Young people aged 11-18

Guideline information booklet

We have produced a booklet designed to assist those who work with children and young people to interpret the UK physical activity guidelines into appropriate messages. This document helps explain what the guidelines are, what types and amounts of physical activity children should do and why this is important.

Evidence briefing for practitioners

Our evidence briefing focusing on children and young people aged 5-18 looks at the available research evidence for the benefits of physical activity for this age group and paints a picture of how active children and young people across the UK currently are.