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"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."

Only 30 per cent of children are estimated to be getting the daily recommended amount of exercise and recent research has suggested a link between lack of physical activity and poor brain development.

Professor Fiona Bull, chair of the government’s committee responsible for the guidelines, said parents should “turn the TV off”.

Professor Bull, co-director of the British Heart Foundation National Centre for Physical Activity at Loughborough University, said: “We are putting children in chairs, sticking them in front of TVs, we are putting them in the back seat in car chairs and driving to lots of places.”

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