Factors associated with physical activity of children and adolescents : a parental point of view
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Inactivity is a global trend that causes high costs for societies. Even children are engaged in a sedentary lifestyle from the early age even though physical activity has many positive effects on individual’s health. To increase children’s physical activity level, it is important to understand factors associated with physical activity behavior. The aim of the study was to investigate from parental point of view how different factors and parental correlates are related with physical activity of children and adolescents in Finland. Specifically the aim was to find out how parental socio-demographic factors (gender, income level, residential area, education level), parental role modeling, and parental support (instrumental behavior, encouragement, modeling, support/influence) were related with the number of hobbies of the child, hours spent on organized and recreational physical activities, and whether the child was practicing individual or team sports. In addition, a correlation between parental physical activity and child’s physical activity was investigated. Furthermore, an association between children’s gender, age and physical activity was checked. Data was collected with an online survey during February and March 2020. In total, 239 Finnish parents (49.8 % males, 50.2 % females) answered to the survey and gave opinions about 228 children and adolescents. Of the children, 50.4 percent were girls and 49.6 percent were boys, 18.4 percent were aged six or under, 38.6 percent were aged 7–12, and 43 percent were adolescents aged 13–19. Data was analyzed with SPSS. Respondent and children samples were described by using descriptive statistics. Normal distribution of variables was checked with Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, and based on that, nonparametric tests were used (Mann-Whitney and Kruskal-Wallis). Furthermore, Spearman rank-order correlation was used. Results indicate that parental socio-demographic factors are related with the number of hobbies of the child, and hours that the child spend on recreational and/or organized physical activities. A positive correlation was found between father’s physical activity and children’s recreational physical activity, and mothers were more involved in their children’s hobbies than fathers. Besides, boys were more active than girls, and activity level dropped when children moved from childhood into adolescence. When planning intervention programs to increase children’s physical activity level, it is important to consider different parental correlates that are related with the physical activity behavior. For example, fathers’ role in increasing physical activity cannot be underestimated. Keywords: physical activity, children, adolescents, parental correlates ...
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