alexa Young children and parental physical activity levels: findings from the Canadian health measures survey.


Orthopedic & Muscular System: Current Research

Author(s): Adamo KB, Langlois KA, Brett KE, Colley RC

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Abstract BACKGROUND: Physical inactivity is a global public health concern. The relationship between dependent children in the home and parental physical activity has not been quantified using objective measures, nor has the relative association of the physical activity levels of mothers and fathers been examined. PURPOSE: To investigate the association of children of different ages in the home on two measures of parental physical activity: daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and likelihood of meeting the guideline of 150 minutes of MVPA per week accumulated in 10-minute bouts. METHODS: Data were from the 2007-2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey (n=2315), and analyses were conducted between February and December 2011. MVPA was measured directly using accelerometry. Linear (minutes of MVPA) and logistic (meeting physical activity guidelines) regression models were performed to determine if the presence, number of children, or the age of the youngest child at home was associated with parental physical activity. All models were adjusted for parental age, marital status, household income, employment, and BMI. RESULTS: Mothers whose youngest child was aged <6 years and fathers whose youngest was aged 6-11 years engaged in fewer minutes of daily MVPA than those without dependent children. Linear regression results identified that in comparison to those without children, women whose youngest child in the home was aged <6 years participated in 7.7 minutes less activity per day (p=0.007) whereas men engaged in 5.7 fewer minutes per day, or 54 and 40 minutes per week less, respectively. Similarly, logistic regression analyses indicated that both women and men were less likely to meet guidelines if their youngest child in the home was aged <6 years (OR=0.31, 95\% CI=0.11, 0.87; OR=0.34, 95\% CI=0.13, 0.93). CONCLUSIONS: The physical activity level of parents with young children present in the home was lower than that of those without children. Given the many physiologic, psychological, and social benefits of healthy active living, research efforts should continue to focus on strategies to encourage parents with young children to establish or re-engage in a physically active lifestyle, not only for their own health but to model healthy behavior for the next generation. Copyright © 2012 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. This article was published in Am J Prev Med and referenced in Orthopedic & Muscular System: Current Research

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