girls with learning disabilities swimming

New recommendations for disabled children to become more active

The UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) have released new guidance which supports disabled children and young people to be more active.

The guidelines advise at least 20 minutes of exercise per day along side strength and balance activities three times a week.

The UK Chief Medical Officers, Professor Sir Chris Whitty, Professor Sir Michael McBride, Professor Sir Gregor Smith and Sir Frank Atherton, said: “We are delighted to present this report and infographic which are an important step forward in addressing the gap in physical activity guidelines for disabled children and disabled young people.

“We encourage schools, parents, carers and healthcare professionals to communicate and promote these guidelines across their wider professional networks to enable appropriate physical activity opportunities for disabled children and disabled young people in their communities”.

The new guidance comes after research from Durham University, University of Bristol and Disabilities Rights UK, found that physical activity can be equally beneficial for disabled children as non-disabled children despite misinformation about the risks.

Professor Brett Smith, Director of Research, Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Durham University, said: “The UK Chief Medical Officers’ physical activity guidelines for disabled children and disabled young people are a UK first.

“The scientific evidence is clear that physical activity is safe and has multiple health benefits for disabled children and disabled young people.

“The infographic, that has been co-produced with over 250 disabled children and disabled young people, their parents and carers, aims to communicate these guidelines in an accessible and meaningful way.

“Together, the guidelines and infographic are a vital steppingstone to improving the health and wellbeing of disabled children and disabled young people”.

Exercises such as walking and cycling, and other types of aerobic exercises are recommended for 120 to 180 minutes per week at a moderate-to-vigorous intensity.

The guidelines state that exercise should be built up gradually to avoid injury and all exercise should be broken down into bit-sized chunks throughout the day to make it more manageable.

The new recommendations will look to support the work already being done by the Office for Health Improvement and help to tackle health inequalities

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