Leading by Example: Association Between Mother and Child Objectively Measured Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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  • 1 University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine
  • | 2 SSM Health Dean Medical Group
  • | 3 Iowa City VA Health Care System
  • | 4 University of Iowa
  • | 5 Children’s Mercy Hospital
  • | 6 University of Missouri-Kansas City
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Purpose: The authors examined the relationship between mother and child activity. Methods: The authors compared moderate–vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and sedentary time of low-income mothers with obesity and their 6- to 12-year-old children on week (WD) and weekend (WE) days. A total of 196 mother–child pairs wore accelerometers simultaneously for a week. Mothers completed questionnaires. Spearman correlation and multivariate regression were used. Results: WE MVPA (accelerometry) was significantly correlated between mothers with children aged 6–7 (rs = .35) and daughters (rs = .27). Self-reported maternal PA time spent with one of their children was significantly correlated with the WE MVPA of all children (rs = .21) and children aged 8–10 (rs = .22) and with the WD MVPA of all children (rs = .15), children aged 8–10 (rs = .23), aged 11–12 (rs = .52), and daughters (rs = .37), and inversely correlated to the WD sedentary time of all children (rs = −.21), children aged 8–10 (rs = −.30), aged 11–12 (rs = −.34), daughters (rs = −.26), and sons (rs = −.22). In multivariate regression, significant associations were identified between reported child–mother PA time together and child MVPA and sedentary time (accelerometry). Conclusions: Mothers may influence the PA levels of their children with the strongest associations found in children aged 6–7 and daughters. Mother–child coparticipation in PA may lead to increased child MVPA and decreased sedentary behavior.

Julius, O’Shea, Francis, and Laroche are with the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA, USA. Julius is also with the Department of Endocrinology, SSM Health Dean Medical Group, Madison, WI, USA. O’Shea is also with the Center for Comprehensive Access and Delivery Research and Evaluation, Iowa City VA Health Care System, Iowa City, IA, USA. Francis and Janz are with the Department of Health and Human Physiology, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA. Laroche is also with the Center for Healthy Lifestyles & Nutrition, Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, MO, USA and the University of Missouri- Kansas City, Kansas City, MO, USA.

Laroche (hhlaroche@cmh.edu) is corresponding author.

Supplementary Materials

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    • Supplementary Table 2 (PDF 180 KB)
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