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.
83 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
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
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.