In a new study published in the journal Early Child Development and Care, researchers suggest that parenting styles may play an important role in their children's activity levels.
In the study, researchers from Oregon State University looked at 200 families with kids between the ages of two and four to determine how parenting styles impact children's physical activity levels.
While all the children spent a considerable amount of time sitting each day (between four to five hours), kids raised by parents with a neglectful or uninvolved parenting style were sedentary for 30 more minutes every day than children raised by parents with other styles.
"A half an hour each day may not seem like much, but add that up over a week, then a month, then a year and you have a big impact," explains David Schary, the study's lead author. "One child may be getting up to four hours more active play every week, and this sets the stage for the rest of their life."
Uninvolved or neglectul parents typically make few demands of their kids and tend to spend little time with their children. Previous research has suggested that children raised by neglectful parents also tend to be emotionally withdrawn, are more likely to exhibit delinquency during their teens and are at an increased risk for substance and alcohol abuse.
According to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children and adolescents should engage in at least one hour of physical activity each day. The CDC also suggest that kids need to engage in aerobic activity such as running, muscle strengthening activity such as gymnastics and bone strengthening activities such as jumping rope as part of the minimum one hour physical exercise each day.
"When children are very young, playing is the main thing they do during waking hours, so parental support and encouragement is crucial," Schary suggests. "So when we see preschool children not going outside much and sitting while playing with a cell phone or watching TV, we need to help parents counteract that behavior."
More Information: Parents Key to Whether Kids Get Enough Exercise, Studies Find
Image by Lauren Lank