physical activity

Physical activity and sedentary behaviour

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Being physically active is vital for the well-being and development of pre-school children and is an important component in addressing unhealthy weight in children. Data from the UK in 2015 showed that only 9% of 2-4 year olds were sufficiently active1.

Practitioners working with pre-school children and their families are in a good position to educate and support parents to promote an active lifestyle in their families.  

Module aim:

This module will provide an overview of physical activity and sedentary behaviour and its importance to pre-school children - and also highlight the various types of activity that can be recommended to pre-school children and their families.

Learning objectives:

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Explain the importance of physical activity for health (and building physical activity into everyday life)
  • Explain the recommended physical activity levels for pre-school children
  • Explain the term sedentary behaviour, and the risks associated with being sedentary.
  • Work with families to identify ways of increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviour.

This module consists of the following sections:


1ESSEHS Active (2015). "Early years evidence briefing ". Retrieved 11/07/17, from