Background Evidence to date suggests that a trajectory for better child outcomes may begin with parents’ knowledge of healthy habits for their children. Guidelines about preschool engagement in physical activity and screen time are posted on government websites and are accessible through community-based settings to inform parents. The relationship between use of these resources and uptake of information is unknown.
Study Questions/aims (1) What resources do parents use to access information about their children’s health? (2) What are the characteristics of parents using government-regulated resources versus other resources? (3) Does type of resource used influence family practices related to physical activity and screen time with preschool children?
Methods 736 randomly selected parents in Alberta, Canada, completed a telephone survey exploring: child-health-related topics of interest, resources accessed, screen time and active living habits. Data was analysed using univariate and multivariate techniques (p < 0.05).
Results 62% of parents were interested in accessing information about their children’s physical health. 80% used government-regulated resources. Over half of children aged 2 to 4 did not reach the 3-hours daily minimum of physical activity (55–66%) and similar percentages exceeded the 1-hour daily maximum screen time recommended (50–76%). Parents using government-regulated resources were not more likely than other parents to follow physical activity and screen time recommendations.
Conclusions Strategies to improve uptake of physical activity and screen time guidelines may require more than information exchange through the internet or in community-based settings. Optimal child health and development may be enhanced through better uptake of guidelines.