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Christine Voss and Gavin R. H. Sandercock

Background:

Parental behavior is an important correlate of child health. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between perceived parental physical activity (PA) and schoolchildren’s aerobic fitness.

Methods:

English schoolchildren’s (n = 4029, 54% boys, 10.0−15.9 yrs) fitness was assessed by 20 m shuttle run test and categorized using criterion-referenced standards. Parental PA was reported by the child.

Results:

Boys and girls were more likely to be fit (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.1−1.8; OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.1−2.0; respectively) if at least 1 parent was perceived as active compared with when neither parents were. Girls were even more likely to be fit (OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.2−2.8) if both parents were active. Associations between parental PA and child fitness were generally stronger when parent and child were of the same gender, although girls with active fathers were more likely (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.7−3.7) to be fit compared with inactive fathers.

Conclusion:

Schoolchildren perceiving at least 1 parent as active are more likely to meet health-related fitness standards. Underlying mechanisms remain elusive, but same-gender associations suggest that social rather than genetic factors are of greater importance. Targeting parental PA or at least perceptions of parental PA should be given consideration in interventions aiming to improve child health.

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Kaisa Kaseva, Taina Hintsa, Jari Lipsanen, Laura Pulkki-Råback, Mirka Hintsanen, Xiaolin Yang, Mirja Hirvensalo, Nina Hutri-Kähönen, Olli Raitakari, Liisa Keltikangas-Järvinen, and Tuija Tammelin

Background:

Parents’ physical activity associates with their children’s physical activity. Prospective designs assessing this association are rare. This study examined how parents’ physical activity was associated with their children’s physical activity from childhood to middle adulthood in a 30-year prospective, population-based setting.

Methods:

Participants (n = 3596) were from the ongoing Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns study started in 1980. Participants’ physical activity was self-reported at 8 phases from 1980 to 2011, and their parents’ physical activity at 1980. Analyses were adjusted for a set of health-related covariates assessed from 1980 to 2007.

Results:

High levels of mothers’ and fathers’ physical activity were systematically associated with increased levels of their children’s physical activity until offspring’s age of 24. Longitudinal analyses conducted from 1980 to 2011 showed that higher levels of parents’ physical activity were associated with increased levels of physical activity within their offspring until midlife, but the association between parents’ and their children’s physical activity weakened when participants aged (P < .05). Covariate adjustment did not attenuate the association.

Conclusions:

This study suggests that parents’ physical activity assessed in their offspring’s childhood contributes favorably to offspring’s physical activity from childhood to middle age.

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Kyra Hamilton and Katherine M. White

Background:

Parents are at risk for physical inactivity; however, few studies have designed physical activity (PA) interventions specifically applied to individuals with young children. To ensure the effectiveness of interventions, it may be useful to first elicit the needs from the target population and incorporate salient strategies identified to the design and delivery of a resultant intervention. We aimed to explore strategies for what to include in and how to best deliver a program designed to increase parental PA.

Methods:

Twelve parents (6 mothers, 6 fathers) of children younger than 5 years participated in focus group discussions exploring strategies for an intervention program designed to increase parental PA.

Results:

A range of themes such as Focus on the Children and Flexible Life/Family Plans imbedded in strategies such as persuasion and information, problem-solving, skill building, and environmental approaches were identified. In addition, a range of strategies for how to best deliver a parental PA intervention evidenced in emerging themes such as Diverse and Brief and Individualized Approach was discussed.

Conclusions:

Future research should continue to adopt a ground up, community-based approach to the development and implementation of interventions for this at-risk group to ensure sustained involvement in regular PA.

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Stephanie Schoeppe, Markus Röbl, Sebastian Liersch, Christian Krauth, and Ulla Walter

Purpose:

To investigate associations between maternal and paternal sport participation, and children’s leisure-time physical activity, and to explore differences by child gender.

Method:

The sample comprised 737 year five students (mean age: 11.0 ± 0.6 years, 52% male) recruited through the Fit for Pisa Project which was conducted in 2008 at 6 secondary schools in Goettingen, Germany. Maternal and paternal sport participation were assessed through child reports of mothers’ and fathers’ weekly participation in sport. Children’s leisure-time physical activity was measured as minutes/week that children engaged in organized and nonorganized sport. Multiple linear regression was used to assess associations between maternal and paternal sport participation, and children’s leisure-time physical activity.

Results:

Both maternal and paternal sport participation were positively associated with children’s leisure-time physical activity (maternal: b = 34.20, p < .001; paternal: b = 25.32, p < .05). When stratifying analyses by child gender, maternal sport participation remained significantly associated with leisure-time physical activity in girls (b = 60.64, p < .001). In contrast, paternal sport participation remained significantly associated with leisure-time physical activity in boys (b = 43.88, p < .01).

Conclusion:

Both maternal and paternal modeling positively influence children’s leisure-time physical activity.

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Valerie Carson, Jodie Stearns, and Ian Janssen

The main purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between parental and children’s physical activity and screen time behaviors in a large sample of children in the early years. The results are based on 738 children aged 0–5 years and their parents from the Kingston, Canada area. Parents completed a questionnaire from May to September 2011 that assessed sociodemographic characteristics, their physical activity and screen time, and their child’s physical activity and screen time. Logistic regression models, adjusted for potential confounders, were conducted. Parents in the lowest quartile of physical activity were 2.77 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.68–4.57) times more likely to have a child in the lowest quartile of physical activity compared with parents in the highest quartile of physical activity. Relationships were stronger in two parent homes compared with single-parent homes. Parents in the second (odds ratio = 2.27, 95% CI: 1.36–3.78), third (2.30, 1.32–3.99), and fourth (7.47, 4.53–12.33) screen time quartiles were significantly more likely to have a child in the highest quartile of screen time compared with parents in quartile one. To optimize healthy growth and development in the early years, future family-centered interventions targeting both physical activity and screen time appear important.

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Byungmo Ku, Megan MacDonald, Bridget Hatfield, and Kathy Gunter

The purpose of this study was to test a modified conceptual model of the associations between parental supports and physical activity (PA) orientations and the PA behaviors of young children with developmental disabilities (DDs). In total, 135 parents of young children with DDs completed a questionnaire, which consisted of 67 questions. A pathway analysis indicated that tangible and intangible parental supports were significantly associated with PA behaviors in young children with DDs (β = 0.26, p = .01, and β = 0.24, p = .02, respectively). Tangible parental support was positively associated with parents’ PA behaviors and PA enjoyment (β = 0.22, p < .001, and β = 0.13, p = .04, respectively). Intangible parental support was positively associated with parents’ PA behaviors and PA importance (β = 0.19, p = .05, and β = 0.33, p < .001, respectively). In addition, parental PA behaviors and parents’ perceptions of their children’s motor performance were both directly associated with PA behaviors in young children with DDs. These results highlight the importance of parental support and PA orientations in relation to the PA behaviors of young children with DDs.

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Dorthe Dalstrup Jakobsen, Jasper Schipperijn, and Jens Meldgaard Bruun

investigate an association between children’s level of physical activity and different independent variables concerning child gender, parental education level, parental physical activity and transport, economic, availability, time, knowledge, and motivation toward physical activity. First, a univariate

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Eugene C. Fitzhugh, Jerry Everett, and Linda Daugherty

Abbreviations: ATS, active transportation of children to school; CI, confidence interval; PA, physical activity. Regarding their child’s use of ATS, 3 factors were significant for only parents living in the Southern US—marital status, parental physical activity, and safety concerns. Nonmarried parents in the

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Robert J. Brustad

Identifying social and psychological influences affecting children’s attitudes about physical activity is an important step in understanding individual differences in children’s activity involvement. This study examined the influence of parental socialization and children’s psychological characteristics upon attraction to physical activity. Fourth-grade children (N=81) completed questionnaires assessing perceived physical competence and attraction to physical activity. Parents also completed questionnaires assessing their physical activity orientations and level of encouragement of their child’s physical activity. A proposed model linking four sets of social and psychological variables was tested through path analysis. The results generally supported the hypothesized model and suggested that parental physical activity orientations, parental encouragement levels, children’s gender, and children’s perceived physical competence are important influences upon children’s attraction to physical activity.

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Sharon E. Taverno Ross

The U.S. Latino population is growing rapidly, and Latino preschool children have the highest rates of obesity compared with their other racial/ethnic counterparts. Physical activity is associated with improved health outcomes in young children, and Latino preschool children’s physical activity is strongly correlated with parental physical activity levels. Physical activity interventions, especially those with a parent component, are particularly well suited for Latino preschool children and may help address this disparity. The author reviewed seven intervention studies and three protocol studies that targeted Latino preschool children and included a parent intervention component and physical activity as outcome variables. An interpretation of the findings of these studies, as well as critical questions for research and policy, are discussed.