A retrospective view on the influence parental support has on physical activity
University of Wales
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The increasing numbers of inactive and overweight people in the UK are more at risk of developing chronic ill health conditions associated with inactivity and overweight. It is well documented that regular physical activity (PA) plays an important role in the prevention and maintenance of a healthy life. The determinants that affect lifetime participation in PA are not conclusive, as is the role parents play in exercise longevity. Parents play a vital role in the upbringing of their children and with socialisation and support from an early age to PA this in turn could affect participation through childhood into adulthood. This study aims to establish the role parents has on lasting PA levels. A sample of University students, (n= 82) 49 females and 33 males (mean age = 20.4, Standard deviation= 1.8) took part in the study, and completed questionnaires about the support their parents gave them towards PA at two different ages whilst growing up (age 8, age 14). They were also asked about their current attitude to PA and the amount of PA they currently do. The results showed that parental support at both age 8 and age 14 had an influence on the amount of PA activity they currently participate in as adults. It showed that parental support at either age was not found to have more significance than the other, and that participants who received parental support had a high attitude towards PA now and take part in more PA. The outcome of the current study shows those who were supported while growing up are more likely to have a positive attitude towards PA and as a result take part in more moderate and vigorous activity. As there was no significant difference between the ages parental support was received it concludes parental influence is essential throughout childhood and adolescence towards PA.
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