Skip Navigation LinksInfant-Physical-Acticity

aaa print


Infant Physical Acticity

​​​​​​​​​​​​

Information about the onset and patterns of risk behaviors associated with overweight and obesity during infancy are showcased in the link below. Visit the section titled Desired Behaviors to learn about how to promote healthy active living during infancy.

​​View Infant ​Timeline​

​Desired Behav​iors

Based upon evidence, a number of desired behaviors were identified as critical to helping families foster healthy active living for their infant. For each desired behavior you can explore the evidence, learn what parents told us about these behaviors, identify opportunities to promote healthy behaviors at the point of care, review how to start conversations and access messages and resources to support families. Also available to inform your counseling is the Onset and Patterns of Risk Behaviors during Infancy Timeline located above this section.

Active ​​Play

Dedicate time every day for active play.
Limit time spent in items that restrict movement (car seats, strollers, bouncy seat, etc)

    Evidence

    ​​Establishing the habit of physical activity early in infancy is logical, especially considering the well-documented lack of physical activity in children under 5.

    Research indicates that caregivers may not be putting into practice or be aware of the benefits of “tummy time”.

    Data suggests that infants who spend too much time in confining equipment such as car seats, swings, bouncy seats, exersaucers, or strollers may experience delayed motor skill development.

    Parent Feedback

    Parents were surprised to hear that babies needed to move and be active in order to learn.

    Parents wanted ideas and strategies for infant activity.

    Opportunities for Care

    A knowledge gap exists about the need for babies to be active. Educate parents about the importance of establishing an activity routine as early as infancy.

    Share developmentally appropriate strategies for active play time. 

    Conversation Starters

    ​​What kinds of things do you like to do with your baby?

    What kind of activities does your baby enjoy?

    What kind of play does your baby like?

    Who at home plays with your baby?

    What do you think about your baby’s activity?

    Related Parent Resources

    ​​HALF Message(s):
    It’s never too early to be active — even babies need physical activity! It helps them learn and reach important milestones, like sitting up and crawling. Physical activity for babies doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Simple things like playing, reaching, grabbing, and having “tummy time” help babies grow and develop into healthy children.

    HALF Resources:
    For realistic parent derived strategies for active play, refer parents to the following sections on healthychildren.org/growinghealthy:

         Quick Tips: Keep Your Child Healthy widget. Simply select Physical Activity to generate the results.

         Physical Activity for Infants

    Also take advantage of the HealthyGrowth app​ to create personalized patient education for your patient.

Scree​​​n Time

Limit TV exposure
     Aim for no TV exposure for infants
     Avoid placement of TV in bedroom​​​​

    Evidence

    61% of children younger than 2 are exposed to television and spend approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes a day watching television.

    30% of children aged 0 to 3 have televisions in their bedrooms.

    There is insufficient evidence linking screen time and obesity in children birth to 2 years of age, however, evidence of a relationship between screen time and obesity in children 2 to 5 years of age supports limiting television exposure earlier than age 2.

    Parent Feedback

    TV was viewed as educational and almost like preschool at home.

    Parents did not think it was realistic to say "no TV".

    Any messages to avoid TV altogether were felt to be unrealistic.

    Opportunities for Care

    Note that a challenge exists in that parents are not receptive to the AAP recommendation of “no TV before 2”.

    It is important to ascertain current family values around TV. Offer alternatives to TV time and strategies to limit exposure to TV early on so that the child grows up with a set of expectations/rules around the TV.

    Work with parents to identify possible ways to limit TV exposure and strongly caution against placing a TV in their baby’s bedroom.

    Conversation Starters

    ​Tell me about you and your baby's TV habits?

    What do you feel is good about your baby watching TV?

    Is there anything you feel is not good about your baby watching TV?

    Who watches TV with your baby?

    What kind of shows does your baby watch?

    Where does your baby watch TV?

    Related Parent Resources

    HALF Message(s): 
    It’s true that TV can sometimes seem like a busy parent’s friend. But TV isn’t the best choice for babies, even educational shows.  An infant’s best teachers are her parents and her interactions with them. 

    HALF Resources:
    For realistic parent derived strategies for managing screen time, refer parents to the following sections on healthychildren.org/growinghealthy:

         Quick Tips: Keep Your Child Healthy widget. Simply select Screen Time to generate the results.

         Physical Activity for Infants

    Also take advantage of the HealthyGrowth app​ to create personalized patient education for your patient.

​​