Kids mirror parents exercise patterns

Exercising Children

A University of Cambridge study has found there is a correlation between a parents’ everyday exercise activity levels and children’s activity behaviour; adding a whole new meaning to leading by example.

“Young children should be active for at least 3 hours per day” says Anita Hobson-Powell, Executive Officer of
Exercise & Sports Science Australia [ ]

Activity levels of both parents and children were found to be directly associated by the study, suggesting children are not ‘just naturally active’ they take cues from their parents.

This UK study found half of all seven year olds do not do enough exercise, with girls far less active than boys.
University researchers found just 51% of the 6,500 children they monitored achieved one hour of physical
activity each day. The difference between girls and boys suggested there needed to be a focus on making sport
and other activities more attractive to girls said the researchers.

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In Australia:

The first Statistical Report for Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) was released in 2010. [ ] The report examined multiple facets of children’s lives that influence their well being. Children’s early development is an important precursor for their outcomes in later childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

Using data from children aged 0 – 9 years, the longitudinal study investigates children’s experiences over time.

Among many other things; having appropriate levels of exercise is important to children’s physical development. Parents may help to encourage their children to participate in active play by engaging with their children in more active pursuits. As seen in the figure below, sharing of activity happens more frequently when children are young (2-3 years old) compared to once they reach primary school age (10-11 years). No doubt this in part reflects differences in the nature of children’s days as children grow older, with school time and outside-school sports substituting for parental time in these activities.

Shared Exercise with Parents