Don't expose babies to electronic screens: WHO

Bangla Tribune Desk
Published : 23:54, Apr 26, 2019 | Updated : 00:01, Apr 27, 2019

Representational imageInfants less than a year old should not be exposed to electronic screens, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.
Issuing its first such guidelines, the United Nations health agency said that older children, aged two to four, should be limited to one hour per day sedentary screen time.
WHO, for the first time on Wednesday issued its guidance for how much screen time that children under five should get.
“Achieving health for all means doing what is best for health, right from the beginning of people’s lives,” says WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Early childhood is a period of rapid development and a time when family lifestyle patterns can be adapted to boost health gains.”
The guidelines also covered sleep and exercise. Among the findings are: Infants under one should interact in floor-based play — or "tummy time" — for at least an hour each day and avoid all screens; children between one and four should spend at least three hours in a variety of physical activities spread across the day, with no more than an hour of screen time; children should not be restrained to a pram or high chair, or strapped to someone's back, for more than an hour at a time.
WHO said under-fives should be physically active and get plenty of sleep, and that this would establish healthy habits through adolescence and into adulthood.
"Healthy physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep habits are established early in life, providing an opportunity to shape habits through childhood, adolescence and into adulthood," WHO stated in the guidelines to member states.
Sedentary screen time includes watching television or videos, and playing computer games.
Being inactive is a "leading risk factor" for mortality, and is fuelling a global rise in overweight and obesity, the agency said. Being excessively overweight can lead to diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and some types of cancer.
In a report from 2017, WHO said the number of obese children and adolescents globally had skyrocketed tenfold to 120 million within the past 40 years. It added that the rise was accelerating in low- and middle-income nations, especially in Asia.