Parents' understanding of their influence on their child's physical activity and health
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Regular physical activity (PA) plays a major role in the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle and the prevention of developing chronic ill health conditions that are associated with inactivity and being overweight (The World Health Organisation, 2014). The role parents play in the influence upon their children’s PA longevity as well as the determinants that affect lifetime PA participation are not conclusive. This study aims to establish the effects of parents regular participation at a health club on their children's PA levels. A sample of 10 regular health club users (attendance of 3 times per week at least) female n=6 and male n=4 took part in the study. Each participant completed one recorded interview covering; (a) their current and childhood PA participation levels (b) their own parents influences on PA when they were growing up (c) their own children’s PA levels (d) their influence on their children's current PA levels (e) their thoughts on role modelling PA via their active health club memberships and (f) family eating habits at home. The results showed that currently, 70% of the participants children were regularly physically active in some way, whether that be in or outside of school, sports teams, exercise clubs and so forth, but during the children’s lifetime 100% were active at some point. Age, personal lack of interest and poor encouragement from schools for the uptake and upkeep of PA appeared to be strong determinants for the lack of regular PA in 30% of participants children. All participants perceived their health club PA regimes to be a strong influence on their children’s PA levels with many seeing their PA as a positive example for their children to follow.
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