#1 Don’t Risk It, Reverse It

If you’re concerned that your child is or may be getting overweight, it’s best not to wait. A study from HPB shows that children who are overweight at age 7 are likely to remain overweight as adults, and obesity increases the risks of certain health issues such as cardiovascular disease, gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), and cancer1.

Fortunately, childhood obesity is reversible, and you can lower the risk of related health issues when you inspire your child to lead an active lifestyle. Regular physical activity can also bring many health benefits1 for your child. Have a look below:

  • Motor development – physical activity allows infants to develop basic motor skills, and enables children to practise their fundamental movement skills like object control and balance.
  • Brain function – regular physical activity has been shown to improve cognitive outcomes, like in academic performance and improved executive functions1.
  • Heart health – physical activity can reduce the risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure.
  • Musculoskeletal health – physical activity can improve bone mineral density and muscular development.
  • Mental health – regular physical activity can help your child manage their emotions and enable them to respond to and recover from stress more healthily.

#2 Know How Much Physical Activity Your Child Needs

As your child grows up, here’s what the Singapore Physical Activity Guidelines (SPAG) recommends.

  • Babies up to 1 year old should get at least 30 minutes of interactive floor-based activity and tummy time every day.
  • For young children aged 1 to 3 years old, they need at least 180 minutes of daily physical activity at any intensity level.
  • Children aged 3 years old and above should get in at least 180 minutes of physical activity with daily outdoor activity. Do note that at least 60 minutes of the 180 minutes should be moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), especially for those aged 5 years old and above.

Additionally, encourage them to try various activities so they can explore their interests. For example, they can strengthen their muscles by skipping rope or climbing and strengthen their bones with hopscotch or dancing.

#3 What Is Considered Moderate To Vigorous Physical Activity?

During moderate physical activity, your child should be able to speak in short sentences, but not be able to sing. During vigorous physical activity, your child should have difficulty talking, and should not be able to sing.

#4 Bit by Bit Gets You Fit

Even on busy days, you and your child can reach the daily 180 minutes of physical activity. Break it down into 10–20-minute periods and participate in simple activities like taking the stairs instead of the lift, jogging to the next bus stop.

#5 Give Staying Active a Go Together

As your child’s role model and play buddy, exercising together with your child helps both of you get more fit while bonding over shared experiences. Every health journey starts with a single step – if you aren’t sure where to start, try doing what you can and like to do first. For example, try brisk walking for 30 minutes per day, 2 to 3 times a week. Then increase the intensity or duration from there.

As you find your rhythm and get into the routine, you can make physical activity more interesting by exploring different activities each time, like playing badminton one day, then soccer the next.

Need some inspiration? Try out this weekly physical activity timetable or join us at the free Active Family Programme island-wide for some parent-child bonding!


1. WHO guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2020, https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240015128