The purpose of this study was to examine cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between parental support and children’s physical activity outside of child care, and whether children’s age or sex moderated the associations.
Results are based on 93 children aged 19 to 60 months at baseline from 8 child care centers across Alberta, Canada. Parental support (ie, transportation, coactivity, watching, encouragement, and informing) and children’s physical activity outside of child care were measured with a parental questionnaire at baseline (October/November 2013) and follow-up (May/June 2014).
Every additional unit increase in parental support was significantly associated with 48.5 minutes/week [95% Confidence Interval (CI): 29.3–67.6] and 52.2 (95% CI: 32.0–72.3) minutes/week higher parental reported children’s physical activity outside of child care at baseline and follow-up, respectively. A 1-unit increase in parental support from baseline to follow-up was significantly associated with a 24.8 (95% CI: 2.8–46.8) minutes/week increase in parental reported children’s physical activity outside of child care. Children’s age was a moderator at baseline only.
Parental support was positively associated with children’s physical activity across all analyses. Parental support may be an important correlate to target in future interventions aiming to promote physical activity in the early years.