A new report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned parents and caregivers against letting children spend more than one hour on screen.

The report released on Wednesday this week said children under five years should not be left to sit for prolonged periods of time either watching TV or playing video games.

“Improving physical activity, reducing sedentary time and ensuring quality sleep in young children will improve their physical, mental health and wellbeing, and help prevent childhood obesity and associated diseases later in life,” says Dr Fiona Bull, Programme Manager for Surveillance and Population-based Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases, at WHO.

According to WHO, children between three and four years should spend a minimum of three hours engaged in active play spread throughout the day.

The UN body also advised parents and caregivers to read to read or tell stories to their children and ensure children within this age bracket get about 10 – 13 hours of sleep inclusive of naps.

Children aged below 2 years, the recommended time for physical activity such as floor-based play is also three hours or more.