Senator Catherine Noone has called for the full adoption of guidelines from a new WHO report on screen time and physical activity.
Senator Noone said: “This is the first time the WHO has issued such guidelines and they outline that children under one year old should not have any screen time, while children aged one to five should get three hours physical activity throughout the day.
“Setting these habits early in life will have a real impact on the future health habits of many children.
“By promoting healthy lifestyles at the earliest stages of development we can prevent some of the worst effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
“In Ireland, one in four children is overweight or obese. This can and will lead to the development of a wide range of health conditions in later life and in some cases to premature death.”
Senator Noone added: “The WHO study analysed data from a number of countries and revealed that the physical and mental developments during the first five years of a child’s life will have long term effects.
“By adopting these guidelines on sleep, physical activity and screen time, we can provide the best start for children born on this island.
“This is an issue that I have spoken about a number of times. The data and the experts are clear that without taking action on these issues, we will face a major health crisis in Ireland.
“By acting now we can provide a better future for all children.”