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Let’s be active! Promoting physical activity in kids

children's physical activity

Children and adolescents aged 5-17 years should do at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily according to the World Health Organization. In this post I will discuss ways for parents to promote children’s physical activity based on results from a recent scientific article. For example, did you know that children are more active if their parents are also more engaged in sport activities?

 What is physical activity?

Physical activity includes any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure. For example, physical activities are:

  • Walking
  • Playing at playgrounds
  • Cycling, for example cycling to school
  • Doing sports

 Children’s physical activity 

The study examined differences in physical activity patterns during childhood. The authors measured physical activity levels in children aged between 6 and 11. In addition, parents filled out questionnaires, including questions about their own sports activities and support for sports activities of their child.

 Results of the study

The results of the study showed that children had higher levels of physical activity if:

  • Their parents believed in benefits of sport, including the capacity of sport to improve personality development, social integration and character building
  • Parents engaged in more sport activities
  • Their parents supported sport activities of their child (see below for examples on how you can support your child’s sport activities)

Furthermore, boys were more active than girls.

Scientific Parenting Tips Tips

  • Think about the importance of physical activity and benefits of sport for your child.
  • Remember that parents seem to work as role models for their children regarding physical activity. Try to be active yourself!
  • Support your child’s sport activities. For example, exercise together with your child or watch your child doing sport.

More Information Scientific Parenting Tips More information

Mutz, M., & Albrecht, P. (2017). Parents’ Social Status and Children’s Daily Physical Activity: The Role of Familial Socialization and Support. Journal of child and family studies, 26(11), 3026-3035.

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