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Proportion of infants meeting the Australian 24-hour movement guidelines for the early years: data from the Melbourne InFANT Program

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BACKGROUND: Little information is available on the movement behaviours of infants, despite evidence that these are important for development. The release of new Australian 24-hour Movement Guidelines provides an opportunity to document the current state of movement behaviours in infants relative to these guidelines. The aim of this study was to report the prevalence of 4 month old Australian infants meeting the 24-hour Movement Guidelines, individually, and in combination, and to describe associations with individual characteristics. METHODS: Maternal report baseline data from the Melbourne Infant Feeding, Activity and Nutrition Trial Program were used to determine prevalence of infants meeting physical activity (30 min of tummy time per day), sedentary behaviour (no more than 1 h at a time kept restrained; zero screen time), and sleep guidelines (14-17 h for 0-3 month olds or 12-16 h for 4-11 month olds). Prevalence of infants meeting combined guidelines was also described. The odds of meeting guidelines based on infant and family characteristics was determined. RESULTS: Data are reported for 455 infants with a mean age of 3.6 months (SD = 1.0). The proportion of infants meeting each of the guidelines was 29.7% for tummy time, 56.9% for kept restrained, 27.9% for screen time, 58.7% for sleep and 3.5% for the combined guidelines (i.e. meeting all four guidelines). A significantly higher proportion of girls than boys met the screen time guideline (32.5% versus 24.0%, p = 0.04) and the combined guidelines (5.7% versus 1.6%, p = 0.01). Few associations were observed between infant and family characteristics and proportion of infants meeting individual guidelines. CONCLUSIONS: Very few infants met all of the guidelines contained in the new Australian 24-hour Movement Guidelines suggesting there is much room for improvement in movement behaviours from early life. Fewer infants met the tummy time and screen time guidelines hence these appear to be the behaviours requiring most attention. Parents and others providing care to infants require support and strategies to assist them in adhering to the guidelines to ensure optimal health and development for the youngest in our population.



BMC public health




Suppl 5

Article number



191 - 198


BioMed Central


London, Eng.





Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2017, The Authors