The Effects on Activity Level of Parents and Children
Dr. Sonja Trent-Brown
This study was conducted in conjunction with the Outdoor Discovery Center (ODC) in Holland, MI. The overall project was a pre-test, post-test study looking to observe the strength of a nature based intervention on child activity preference. Research shows that parents have an effect on the preferences that can lead to obesity that children develop even at young ages (Wardle et al. 2001). Prior research has also indicated that adults with more active jobs are more likely to have active lifestyles (Van Domelen et al. 2011). This study examined the relationship between parents’ job type and their preferred activities in order to explore potential underlying causes. A total of 120 fathers’ and 111 mothers’ of children from seven West Michigan public schools filled out and returned questionnaires. We tested differing activity preferences in parents using an adaptation from Leary et al’s (2008) study and scored them accordingly. Parents’ activity preferences were scored and categorized as sedentary, neutral, or active based on responses. Questions pertaining to health, preferred activity and job were included. Parents also indicated the type of work they do at their job, for example, sitting mostly or rigorous activity. Findings indicated that mother’s activity level at work and father’s activity level at work were related to mother’s activity preferences at home. This suggests that mothers who are more active at work may prefer activities that are more physically vigorous at home. Since prior research has demonstrated that parent lifestyle has a significant influence on children’s preferences and lifestyles, mother’s activity preferences interacting with work type could have implications on what encourages more active lifestyles.
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