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How much physical activity for children over the age of 2 is enough?

In 1996, the U.S. Surgeon General recommended that all people over the age of 2 years should accumulate at least 30 minutes of endurance-type physical activity, of at least moderate intensity, on most, preferably all, days of the week.

You may ask, "what is endurance-type physical activity?" It is activity involving repeated use of large muscles such as in walking, bicycling, swimming, and aerobics.

  • Participating in moderate amounts of physical activity every day improves health and quality of life.
  • Focusing on amount rather than intensity allows for more options.
  • Strive for 30 minutes of endurance-type activity on most days; 2, 15-minute episodes are equivalent to 30 minute episodes.
  • Some physical activity is better than none!


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (1996). Physical activity and health: A report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.



Sara Gable, Ph.D., Human Development and Family Studies, College of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri Extension






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