Supportive parents encourage kids’ physical activities

January 27th, 2010 - 3:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Jan 27 (IANS) Supportive parents seem to encourage their children’s physical activities more, says a new study.
In other words, parents who think their children have some sort of athletic ability were much more likely than other parents to provide instrumental and emotional support for their children to be physically active.

The study by Oregon State University (OSU) researchers Stewart Trost and Paul Loprinzi studied 268 children aged two to five years in Queensland, Australia.

Also, 156 parents or caregivers of these children were surveyed on their parental practices, behaviours related to physical activity and demographic information.

What they found is that parents’ level of physical activity is not directly associated with their children, but instead that the direct link was between parental support and a child’s level of physical activity.

“Active parents may be more likely to have active children because they encourage that behaviour through the use of support systems and opportunities for physical activity,” Trost said.

“But there is no statistical evidence that a child is active simply because they see that their parents exercise,” he added.

Trost, who is director of the Obesity Prevention Research Core at the new Hallie Ford Centre for Healthy Children and Families at OSU, is an international expert on the issue of childhood obesity, said an OSU release.

“I think this underscores the need for parents to provide emotional support, as well as opportunities for activity,” Trost said.

“Regardless of whether a child is athletic or is perceived to be physically gifted, all children need opportunities and encouragement of physical activity,” he added.

The report was published in Preventive Medicine.

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