Children (5-11 years ) and
Youth (12-17 years)

Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Children and Youth (5-17 years): An Integration of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep

The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth (ages 5-17 years) are the first evidence-based guidelines to address the whole day. Kids are inactive and may be losing sleep over it. They aren’t moving enough to be tired, and they may also be too tired to move.

Research strongly shows the need for a new movement paradigm that emphasizes the integration of all movement behaviours occurring over a whole day, shifting the focus from the individual components to emphasize the whole. The new guidelines encourage Children and Youth to “Sweat, Step, Sleep and Sit” the right amounts for a healthy 24 hours.

These guidelines were developed by the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Group (HALO) of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP), ParticipACTION, The Conference Board of Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and a group of leading researchers from around the world, with the input of over 700 national and international stakeholders.


These guidelines are relevant to apparently healthy children and youth (aged 5–17 years) irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity, or the socio-economic status of the family. Children and youth are encouraged to live an active lifestyle with a daily balance of sleep, sedentary behaviours, and physical activities that supports their healthy development.

Children and youth should practice healthy sleep hygiene (habits and practices that are conducive to sleeping well), limit sedentary behaviours (especially screen time), and participate in a range of physical activities in a variety of environments (e.g., home/school/community; indoors/outdoors; land/water; summer/winter) and contexts (e.g., play, recreation, sport, active transportation, hobbies, and chores).

For those not currently meeting these 24-hour movement guidelines, a progressive adjustment toward them is recommended. Following these guidelines is associated with better body composition, cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal fitness, academic achievement and cognition, emotional regulation, pro-social behaviours, cardiovascular and metabolic health, and overall quality of life. The benefits of following these guidelines far exceed potential risks.

These guidelines may be appropriate for children and youth with a disability or medical condition; however, a health professional should be consulted for additional guidance.


For optimal health benefits, children and youth (aged 5–17 years) should achieve high levels of physical activity, low levels of sedentary behaviour, and sufficient sleep each day.

A healthy 24 hours includes:



Moderate to vigorous physical activity

  • An accumulation of at least  60 minutes per day of moderate  to vigorous physical activity  involving a variety of aerobic activities. Vigorous physical activities, and muscle and  bone strengthening activities should each be incorporated  at least 3 days per week;


Light physical activity

  • Several hours of a variety of structured and unstructured light physical activities;




  • Uninterrupted 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night for those aged 5–13 years and 8 to 10 hours per night for those aged 14–17 years, with consistent bed and wake-up times;


Sedentary Behaviour

  • No more than 2 hours per day of recreational screen time;
  • Limited sitting for extended periods. 
Preserving sufficient sleep, trading indoor time for outdoor time, and replacing sedentary behaviours and light physical activity with additional moderate to vigorous physical activity can provide greater health benefits.
Download the Guidelines