Objective Physical activity is an important preventive factor for obesity and Type-2 diabetes. The aim of this study is to examine parental physical activity behaviors and perceptions as predictors of physical activity (PA) among preschool-aged children.
Method 49 parent-child dyads have been recruited from daycares in a Canadian community. Height and weight for children (26 male, 23 female, mean age = 50.8 ms±12.34) were taken. Parents completed questionnaires regarding sociodemographic characteristics, parental support, enjoyment, and importance of PA, and PA levels of parents and children.
Results 17 (35%) of the children in this sample were identified as being at risk for overweight (BMI above 85th percentile of growth distribution). Overall, only 60% of the children participated in more than 60 minutes of PA per day, regardless of weight status. Regression analyses demonstrated that parents’ report of having an income less than 45000 (B = 0.73, p<0.01), having a younger child (B = −0.02, p<0.01), parent’s enjoyment of PA (B = 0.45, p<0.01), parental support (B = 0.50, p<0.01) and, child watching less TV (B = −0.27, P<0.05) are predictive of parent’s report of child being more physically active. Parent’s PA level and child’s BMI were not found to be significant predictors of child PA.
Conclusion Results of this ongoing study suggest that interventions are needed for increasing physical activity among all children, not only the ones at risk for overweight. This could be done by promoting physical activity at home, given that most of the physical activity opportunities are provided by the daycares.