According to a new study parents can play a very active role in motivating their children to lead more active lives.
Assistant Professor of Medicine at National Jewish Health, Kristen Holm and her colleagues have discovered that when parents improve their daily activities, their children are likely to be more active as well. This interventional study, which correlates the activity levels of parents and children, is the first of its kind.
Advertisement83 families were enrolled in the study which was designed to control excess weight gain among obese and overweight children between the ages 7-14. Mothers in all the 83 families participated, while the participation of only 3 fathers were documented.
This interventional program was promoted by the 'America on the Move' initiative. During the study both the children and their parents were encouraged to increase their physical activity by 2000 steps per day.
It was observed that children achieved an average of 2117 steps on the days their moms completed their 2000 steps, in comparison to the 1175 additional steps taken by the children when their moms did not reach their goal. The pattern was the same for father-child activity too.
It was observed that the effect was more pronounced during the week. Also, children who were not too active at baseline were more likely to take more additional steps than those children who were already active.
The study further emphasizes the fact that children should be lead by example and not by advise, as they tend to look up to their parents more than to any one else, especially during their formative years.
The results of this study appeared in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health -July issue , 2012.
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