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Table 2 Comparison of national physical activity recommendations for children and young people with the WHO recommendations

From: National physical activity recommendations: systematic overview and analysis of the situation in European countries

Country Inactivity Minimum recommendations Further recommendations
General recommendation Additional aspects Bouts Add. health benefits
Duration Intensity Frequency Inclusion of vigorous intensity  
WHO [22] - At least 60 minutes Moderate- to vigorous Daily Should be incorporated at least 3 times/week Activities for muscle strength and bone health at least 3 times/week - Amounts greater than 60 minutes daily will provide additional health benefits
Austria [27] If sitting more than 60 minutes, activity breaks recommended 60 minutes At least moderate Daily - Activities for muscle strength and bone health at least 3 times/week, and additional activities to improve coordination and flexibility No activity too short not to count -
Belgium [28] - 60 minutes Moderate Daily More intense activity twice a week - - -
Denmark [29] - At least 60 minutes Moderate Daily Vigorous intensity activities of 20–30 minutes at least twice/week for fitness Vigorous intensity activities of 20–30 minutes at least twice/week for fitness, strength, mobility and bone health Can be divided into shorter periods -
Finland  
<7 year olds [32] - At least 2 hours Vigorous Daily Only vigorous intensity activities recommended Train on a daily basis fundamental motor skills in various settings and in a diversified way. Create an environment that encourages children to be active, remove obstacles to physical activity and teach how to move safely in different environments. - -
7-18 year olds [31] Avoid sitting for more than 2 hours at a time. Not more than 2 hours/day in front of entertainment media. 1-2 hours All-round exercise Daily - Exercise for bones, mobility and muscular strength at least 3 times/week At least 10 minutes For optimal benefit even more exercise than this should be practiced.
France [33] - 60 minutes Moderate to vigorous Daily - At least 3 times/week vigorous activities of at least 20 minutes duration of resistance muscle training - -
Iceland [34] Avoid inactivity and incorporate PA in daily life. Limit daily non-work screen time to two hours. 60 minutes - Daily - Diverse activity that promotes fitness including strength For example 10–15 minutes -
Ireland [35] - 60 minutes Moderate to vigorous Daily - 3 times/week strength training - -
Luxembourg [36] - 60 minutes Moderate Daily - 2-3 times/week strength, flexibility and balance training - -
Malta [37] Decrease non-active time spent on TV, game consoles and surfing the Internet 30 to 60 minutes Moderate or vigorous Daily - For best results, include aerobic training, resistance and flexibility exercises - -
Netherlands [38] - 60 minutes Moderate Daily - At least twice a week activity for physical fitness (strength, agility and coordination) - -
Norway [26] - 60 minutes Moderate to vigorous Daily - Activities should be as diverse as possible to develop all aspects of physical fitness (cardio-respiratory, muscle strength, flexibility, speed, mobility, reaction time and coordination) Can probably be divided into shorter intervals -
Sweden [26] - 60 minutes Moderate to vigorous Daily - Activities should be diverse, i.e. include activities on cardio-respiratory fitness, muscle strength, flexibility, speed, mobility, reaction time and coordination Can probably be broken up into shorter bouts -
Switzerland [41] If sitting more than 120 minutes, activity breaks recommended Adolescents 1 hour, younger children even longer Equivalent to at least brisk walking or cycling Daily Several times/week activities for cardiovascular health At least 10 minutes several times/week activities for muscle strength, bone health, cardiovascular health, flexibility and agility At least 10 minutes -
United Kingdom [43]  
0-5 years (pre-walking) Minimize time spent being sedentary/restrained for extended periods (except sleeping) Activity should be encouraged from birth, particularly through floor-based play and water-based activities in safe environments - - -
0-5 years (walking) Minimize time spent being sedentary/restrained for extended periods (except sleeping) 180 minutes Moderate to vigorous Daily - Movements of all the major muscle groups - -
5-18 years Minimize time spent being sedentary/restrained for extended periods At least 60 minutes and up to several hours Moderate to vigorous Daily At least 3 times/week On at least 3 days/week vigorous intensity activities including those for muscle strength and bone health - -
  1. -Aspect not mentioned in the recommendation.