New guidelines set to be published by the government will suggest that young children should exercise for at least three hours a day in a bid to tackle obesity.
The guidance, being published this week, suggests babies should be taken swimming and regularly given time on “baby gym” play mats.
On routine journeys like travelling to nursery, toddlers should walk for at least 15 minutes, according to the guidance penned by chief medical officers.
Chief medical officer Sally Davies told the Sunday Times: “For children that are not yet walking, there is considerable evidence that letting children crawl, play or roll around on the floor is essential during early years.
“Play that allows under-fives to move about is critical and three hours a day is essential.
“I think there are parents who are not aware how important it is for their children to be physically active for a minimum of three hours.
“Other parents are very busy and may not see how important it is to get that prioritisation and balance right.”
The guidance comes after NHS figures revealed nearly a quarter of youngsters aged four and five are currently classed as being overweight or obese, and experts predict that could apply to 63% of children by 2050.