The latest recommendation is for kids to participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily. Of course, engaging in even more may offer additional benefits, but only up to a point. Kids should avoid excessive exercise (90 minutes or more daily of moderate- or high-intensity exercise), in order to prevent potential injuries to maturing bones, joints, and muscles. Even in adults, the incidence of "overuse injuries," such as inflamed tendons (tendinitis) and stress fractures, increases when more than 60-90 minutes of hard exercise is done daily.

Physical Activity Guidelines for American Youth

U.S. federal guidelines (2008) suggest children and adolescents (ages 6 to 17) should participate in 60 minutes or more of physical activity daily, split between three types:

  • Aerobic Activity: This should make up most of a child's 60 or more minutes of physical activity each day, as either moderate-intensity aerobic activity (such as brisk walking), or vigorous-intensity activity (like running). Be sure to include vigorous-intensity aerobic activity at least 3 days per week.
  • Muscle Strengthening: Include muscle strengthening activities, such as gymnastics or push-ups on at least 3 days per week.
  • Bone Strengthening: Include bone strengthening activities, such as jumping rope or running on at least 3 days per week.

Encourage your child to participate in activities that are age-appropriate, enjoyable and offer variety!

If you need more information on managing or preventing type 2 diabetes in youth, please consult an updated and expanded version of Diabetes-Free Kids: A Take-Charge Plan for Preventing and Treating Type 2 Diabetes in Youth, which was released in August 2012 in both print and ebook formats. More information about this book and where to order it online can be found at

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Read more of Sheri Colberg-Och's columns.

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.


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Last Modified Date: May 23, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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by Carey Potash
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