Parent support for child physical activity is a consistent predictor of increased childhood activity. Little is known about factors that prevent or facilitate support. The purpose of this research was to identify barriers to parent support for child physical activity in Appalachian parents.
A cross-sectional study assessed parents whose children participated in Coronary Artery Risk Detection in Appalachian Communities (CARDIAC) screenings in a rural Appalachian state. Barriers to parental support for physical activity, demographics, geographic location, and parental support for activity were measured.
A total of 475 parents completed surveys. The majority were mothers (86.7%), parents of kindergarteners (49.5%), white (89.3%), and living in a nonrural area (70.5%). Community-level factors were most frequently cited as barriers, particularly those related to the built environment. Rural and low-income parents reported significantly higher barriers. Community, interpersonal, and intrapersonal barriers were negatively correlated with parent support for child physical activity. Parents of girls reported a higher percentage of barriers related to safety.
Reported barriers in this sample differed from those reported elsewhere (Davison, 2009). Specific groups such as low-income and rural parents should be targeted in intervention efforts. Future research should explore gender differences in reported barriers to determine the influence of cultural stereotypes.