Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for the Early Years (aged 0–4 years) Journal Articles uri icon

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  • The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP), with assistance from multiple partners, stakeholders, and researchers, developed the first Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for the Early Years (aged 0-4 years). These national guidelines were created in response to an urgent call from public health, health care, child care, and fitness practitioners for healthy active living guidance for the early years. The guideline development process was informed by the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research Evaluation (AGREE) II instrument and the evidence assessed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) system. The recommendations are informed by evidence from a systematic review that examined the relationships between physical activity and health indicators (healthy body weight, bone and skeletal health, motor skill development, psychosocial health, cognitive development, and cardio-metabolic disease risk factors) for three age groups (infants aged <1 year; toddlers aged 1-2 years; preschoolers aged 3-4 years). The new guidelines include a preamble to provide context, followed by the specific recommendations. The final guidelines benefitted from an extensive on-line consultation process with input from over 900 domestic and international stakeholders, end-users, and key informants. The final guideline recommendations state that for healthy growth and development, infants (aged <1 year) should be physically active several times daily - particularly through interactive floor-based play. Toddlers (aged 1-2 years) and preschoolers (aged 3-4 years) should accumulate at least 180 min of physical activity at any intensity spread throughout the day, including a variety of activities in different environments, activities that develop movement skills, and progression toward at least 60 min of energetic play by 5 years of age. More daily physical activity provides greater benefits.


  • Tremblay, Mark S
  • LeBlanc, Allana G
  • Carson, Valerie
  • Choquette, Louise
  • Connor Gorber, Sarah
  • Dillman, Carrie
  • Duggan, Mary
  • Gordon, Mary Jane
  • Hicks, Audrey Lyn
  • Janssen, Ian
  • Kho, Michelle
  • Latimer-Cheung, Amy E
  • LeBlanc, Claire
  • Murumets, Kelly
  • Okely, Anthony D
  • Reilly, John J
  • Spence, John C
  • Stearns, Jodie A
  • Timmons, Brian

publication date

  • April 2012