Current guidelines for activity levels were designed for adults — another case of ‘one-size-does-not-fit-all’.
The CDC and the American College of Sports Medicine call for all Americans to get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily. A study in the September 2001 online issue of Pediatrics used heart monitors to actually measure the activity levels of 1900 representative children ages 3 to 17. They averaged 30 minutes daily of high intensity exercise plus another 60 minutes of moderate exercise daily — more than 3 times the recommended levels — in a generation of children growing more obese each year.
I believe that children thrive with more activity than the levels suggest, probably about 2 hours of moderate to high-intensity activity daily. They’re designed with energy to burn for a reason!