Youth Physical Activity Guidelines

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition Cdc-pdf[PDF – 13.5 MB]External, issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services, recommend that children and adolescents ages 6 to 17 years  do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily.1 Regular physical activity in children and adolescents promotes health and fitness. Compared to those who are inactive, physically active youth have higher levels of fitness, lower body fat, and stronger bones and muscles. Physical activity also has brain health benefits for school-aged children, including improved cognition (e.g., academic performance, memory) and reduced symptoms of depression. Regular physical activity in childhood and adolescence can also be important for promoting lifelong health and well-being and preventing risk factors for various health conditions like heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

Youth Physical Activity Guidelines Defined
  • Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily.
    • Aerobic: Most of the 60 or more minutes a day should be either moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity and should include vigorous-intensity physical activity at least 3 days a week.
    • Muscle-strengthening: As part of their 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include muscle-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days of the week.
    • Bone-strengthening: As part of their 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include bone-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days of the week.
  • It is important to provide young people opportunities and encouragement to participate in physical activities that are appropriate for their age, that are enjoyable, and that offer variety. See Chapter 3 of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd editionExternal.

1. US Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2018.