Exploring the effect of parental influence on children’s physical activity

Physical activity is critical for children’s optimal health and development. It is therefore important to understand what factors contribute to children’s physical activity in order to improve interventions to increase physical activity levels. This new article investigates the relationship between parental support and parental physical activity on children’s perception of parental support and children’s physical activity, and was conducted by an interdisciplinary team of HEAL researchers, including Dr. Piotr Wilk (lead author), Dr. Andrew Clark, Alana MaltbyDr. Patricia Tucker, and Dr. Jason Gilliland (senior author and principal investigator). The study makes use of data collected between May and October 2014 from the community-based London physical activity intervention project ACT-i-Pass.

Participating parents and children answered the International Physical Activity Questionnaire and Physical Activity Questionnaire for Children, respectively, both of which contained questions concerning parental support and the child’s perception of the support. The study found that the child’s perception of receiving parental support for physical activity as well as parents’ self-reported support for physical activity had a positive effect on the child’s own physical activity – a finding that is consistent across both boys and girls. The indirect effect between parental physical activity and the child’s physical activity did not prove to be statistically significant.

Dr Piotr Wilk is a HEAL Faculty Associate and Associate Professor of Epidemiology & Biostatistics and Paediatrics at Western University. Dr. Andrew Clark is Project Coordinator at the Human Environments Analysis Laboratory at Western University; Alana Maltby is an MSc Research Associate at the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Western University; Dr. Patricia Tucker is Associate Professor at Western University’s School of Occupational Therapy; and Dr. Jason Gilliland, Scientist at Children’s Health Research Institute, Professor of Geography, Paediatrics and Health Sciences, and Director of the Human Environments Analysis Laboratory at Western University.

“Exploring the effect of parental influence on children’s physical activity: The mediating role of children’s perceptions of parental support” was published in Preventative Medicine.

Read the full article here: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2017.10.018

Keywords: Physical activity; Child; Parental influence; Structural equation modeling

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