Children aged one to four years must spend at least 3 hours of physical activity.
Young children should not spend more than an hour watching television and video or playing computer games, and babies under one year of age will not be exposed to electronic screens at all, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
The United Nations Agency that issued its first such guidelines stated that young people under the age of 5 should also be physically active and receive adequate sleep to help develop good lifelong habits and prevent obesity and other diseases in the later life.
"What we are warning about is the excessive use of these electronic screens with young children," said Dr. Fiona Bull at a briefing.
In its guidelines to the Member States, WHO said that children between one and four years of age should spend at least three hours in different physical activities distributed throughout the day.
Infants under one have to interact in a game based on the floor and avoid all screens.
Being inactive leads to an increase in the number of people with obesity or overweight in the world. Excessive weight can cause premature death from heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and some forms of cancer.
"Preventing these deaths should begin in the earliest life," said Bull.
One in three adults today is overweight or obese, and one in four adults does not exercise enough physical activity, she said.
"In this age group under 5, 40 million children worldwide are currently overweight, 50% of whom are in Africa and Southeast Asia," said Bull. This accounts for 5.9% of the world's children.
Early childhood is a period of rapid physical and cognitive development, during which habits are formed and family habits are adapted, according to WHO guidelines derived from evidence in hundreds of studies, many from Australia, Canada, South Africa and the United States.
"Sitting behavior, whether moving by motorcycle, not walking or cycling, sitting at a school desk, watching TV or playing inactive screen games, is becoming more widespread and is associated with poor health outcomes, the WHO said.
Chronic sleep deficiency in children is associated with increased excessive fat accumulation as measured by body mass index (BMI).
Shorter sleep duration is associated with more TV viewing and time spent playing computer games.
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