Cu1559 - Promote Young Children’s Physical Activity and Movement Skills.

1.1 Explain why physical activity is important to the short and long term health and well being of children.

The recommended amount of time spent being active for children five years and younger is around three hours each day. This level of activity supports children’s development and well being in both the short and long term.

In the short term, physical activity creates strong muscle development, supporting a whole range of movement and coordination skills; is essential for the development of strong bones and cardiovascular health; it prevents obesity, lowers the risk of contracting viruses, such as colds and flu and can support healthy sleeping patterns, helping a child fall asleep more easily and to sleep for longer periods of time.

The longer term effects include the prevention of becoming overweight or obese, which can lead to serious illnesses such as Type 2 Diabetes, Cancers and Heart Diseases. Osteoporosis can occur, particularly in females, if the skeletal structure is under developed. Early exposure to physical activity aids a positive attitude to being outdoors, pursuing sports and walking, which can lead to developing healthy habits and a healthier lifestyle in adulthood.

1.2 Explain the development of movement skills in young children and how these skills affect other aspects of development.

A baby’s central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) are key to the development of movement skills. Survival reflexes that children are born with, are automatic responses which are later interpreted and become controlled movements with experience of their environment.

The development of movement skills in children relies on a sequence of acquisition, from being able to lift and turn their head whilst laying on their front at 3 months, kicking legs and moving arms, to crawling or shuffling and beginning to walk at 12 months. Further development brings about running, changing direction and being able to avoid obstacles at 5 years old. These...