Health, Hygiene & Nutrition in |Early Years

As early year’s practitioners working with young children, do you feel that early years settings have the responsibility to ensure that the children in their care meet the recommended level of physical activity a day?
Health, Hygiene and Nutrition
According to the National Guidelines on Physical Activity for Ireland, 2009, all children from 2 years to 18 years of age should be active at a moderate to vigorous level, for at least 60 minutes every day. (DOHC,HSE,2009).This essay will discuss the role that physical activity has in promoting children’s mental health and wellbeing as well as the general health benefits associated with physical activity in young children. The author will discuss the challenges faced by early year’s practitioners in providing the recommended level of physical activity on a daily basis. This essay will also look at the various government initiatives, introduced in recent years, to help promote physical activity in the early years. The writer will research an early year’s curriculum policy that promotes physical activity, and encourages parental and community participation.
Health Benefits associated with physical activity in young children.
Current statistics prove that childhood obesity in Ireland has reached epidemic levels. Research shows that six out of ten children who are overweight before puberty will carry the problem on into adulthood. Obesity is caused by a combination of factors, however the primary reason is that today children are simply eating too much and not getting enough exercise. The immediate health benefits for children are improved concentration levels, stronger immune systems, and a healthy musculoskeletal growth. The long term benefits are reduced risk of chronic conditions such as asthma, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and increased life expectancy. Promoting physical activity in early childhood will provide children with lifelong coping skills for dealing with stressful situations and...