Parental Practices Encouraging and Discouraging Physical Activity in Hong Kong Chinese Preschoolers

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Regular participation in physical activity (PA) can help reduce the risk of overweight/obesity. Parental practices related to PA are modifiable determinants of preschoolers’ PA that are still not well understood, especially in non-Western cultures. This qualitative explorative study aimed to identify parental practices encouraging or discouraging PA in Hong Kong preschoolers.


Nominal Group Technique (NGT) sessions (n = 45; 6 to 9/group), complemented by a focus group (n = 6) and individual interviews (n = 12), were conducted with primary caregivers (mainly parents) of Hong Kong preschoolers to investigate what parents do to encourage (4 groups) and discourage (2 groups) PA in children. The groups were stratified by low and high neighborhood socioeconomic status. Results: Participants generated 21 and 16 items describing practices encouraging and discouraging preschoolers’ PA, respectively. Parental provision of instrumental, motivational, and conditional support were thought to encourage child’s PA, while parental safety concerns, focus on academic achievement, lack of time and resources, and promotion of sedentary behaviors were thought to discourage child’s PA.


Several parental practices that were deemed to encourage or discourage Hong Kong preschoolers’ PA were identified. These can assist with development of a culturally sensitive scale of PA parenting practices and inform future quantitative research.

Suen, Cerin (, and Wu are with the Institute of Human Performance, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, People’s Republic of China. Cerin is also with the Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, Deakin University, Burwood, VIC, Australia.

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