Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Poor role models: Children say two-thirds of parents do 'almost no physical activity'

Date:
June 20, 2012
Source:
University of Essex
Summary:
Children who said their parents do almost no physical activity have a 50 per cent greater risk of being unfit than children with more physically active parents, according to new research.

Children who said their parents do almost no physical activity have a 50 per cent greater risk of being unfit than children with more physically active parents, according to new research.

In the year the Olympics are coming to Britain, the study found two-thirds of children think their parents do almost no physical activity, meaning they are proving to be poor role models for their offspring. Researchers from the University of Essex asked more than 4,000 schoolchildren to rate how active they thought their parents were. The researchers then got the children to complete a test of their cardio respiratory fitness (the 'bleep' test) and compared the results.

A quarter of the children who took part in the test were classed as 'unfit' but this likelihood was strongly influenced by how active they perceived their parents to be. While one in five children said at least one of their parents was active but only one in ten said they had two active parents. Fathers were perceived as more active than mothers and the association with children's fitness was stronger between fathers and children than mothers and children.

Dr Gavin Sandercock, who led the research, which has been published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, said: "To be classed as fit in our test the children had to run at a speed equivalent to a medium jogging pace (7 mph) and its quite frightening that a quarter of children can't do this." He added: "We know that being unfit is much worse for your health than being obese and we are now finding out that it is also much more common."

The researchers highlighted that as parents act as role models for their children, particularly girls, parents need to be seen to be active to show their children how to live a healthy, active life. Dr Sandercock said some parents may actually be active but their children do not realise it.

However, the data tends to back up previous studies which show that adults are not getting enough physical activity. To be active in the study parents had to be perceived by their children to do two or three sessions of physical activity per week including walking, cycling, running, going to play sport, going to a gym or an exercise class.

Dr Sandercock added: "As parents we don't need to be Olympic athletes to be good role models for our children. We need our children to know that we encourage and support their physical activity and, most importantly, we need our children to see us being active ourselves."

The research follows recent calls for fitness testing in schools and calls by sports medicine practitioners to assess fitness PE in the way numeracy and literacy are assessed in maths and English. "We can't carry on putting all the pressure on schools to get children fit and active when some parents might not be playing their part. Children spend less than 15 per cent of their time at school and only two hours a week doing PE," said Dr Sandercock. He added: "If genetics was the main reason for the association we would see that mums' activity levels were more important as some key genes for fitness come from your mother's side. As dads' activity levels were the best predictors of children's fitness we think the effect is environmental."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Essex. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Essex. "Poor role models: Children say two-thirds of parents do 'almost no physical activity'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120620133041.htm>.
University of Essex. (2012, June 20). Poor role models: Children say two-thirds of parents do 'almost no physical activity'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120620133041.htm
University of Essex. "Poor role models: Children say two-thirds of parents do 'almost no physical activity'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120620133041.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins