Wean Children Away From the Computer By Insisting On Vigorous Team Sports

by Tanya Thomas on Jul 8 2009 10:47 AM

Recent research has found that parents who value strenuous team sports are more likely to influence their kids to join a team, or at least participate in some kind of exercise. This will lead to less time spent in front of the TV or computer.

For the study, researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and Duke University examined a sample of 681 parents of 433 fourth- and fifth-graders from 12 schools in Houston.

They found that those parents who conveyed the importance of high-intensity team sports to their children had more active children.

Both the boys and girls watched less TV and spent less time on their computers.

However, the study also found that endorsing all types of exercise - both team sports and individual sports - increased boys' activity levels but not girls'.

"The difference between activity levels in the girls and boys had to do with the parents' attitudes toward the types of activities. Parents encouraged sons to partake in vigorous- and moderate-intensity team and individual sports, and vigorous-intensity home chores, such as heavy yard work, more than they encouraged these activities for their daughters," said lead author Cheryl Braselton Anderson, PhD.

"There still is gender bias on encouraging boys to participate in certain sports and strenuous activities more than girls," Anderson added.

The findings appear in the July issue of Health Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association.