Exploring Mothers’ Influence on Preschoolers’ Physical Activity and Sedentary Time: A Cross Sectional Study
Objectives Physical activity patterns can track from childhood into adulthood; therefore, establishing active behaviors early is imperative. Given the multidimensional nature of a mother’s influence on their children, there is a need to utilize more comprehensive measures to assess the relationship between mother and child activity behaviors. Specifically, mothers have been identified as influencing preschoolers’ activity behaviors and are often in control of organizing a family’s opportunities to be active. The purpose of this study was to explore maternal influence on preschoolers’ physical activity and sedentary time. Methods Preschoolers (n = 24) and their mothers (n = 24) wore Actical™ accelerometers for 7 consecutive days (e.g., 5 weekday, 2 weekend days), and mothers completed the adapted Environmental Determinants of Physical Activity in Preschool Children—Parent Survey. Direct entry regression analyses were conducted to explore maternal influence (e.g., role modeling through mothers’ activity levels, maternal support, and enjoyment of being active) on preschoolers’ activity levels. Results Maternal support was found to be a significant predictor of preschoolers’ light and moderate–vigorous physical activity, and sedentary time (p < .05); accounting for 37.3–46.7% of the variation. Conclusions for Practice Mothers supportive behaviors influenced preschoolers’ physical activity and sedentary time. Future research is needed to investigate facilitators/barriers that mothers with preschoolers encounter with regard to providing support to be active or modeling active behaviors themselves.
KeywordsPhysical activity Sedentary time Preschooler Maternal influence Accelerometry Health promotion
The authors would like to acknowledge participating mothers and preschoolers for their involvement in this study. Special thanks to Dr. Andrew Johnson for his assistance with data analysis. LM Vanderloo was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Doctoral Research Award.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
- Adamo, K. B., Langlois, K. a., Brett, K. E., & Colley, R. C. (2012). Young children and parental physical activity levels: Findings from the Canadian health measures survey. American journal of preventive medicine, 43(2), 168–175. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2012.02.032.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Cantell, M., Crawford, S. G., & Dewey, D. (2012). Daily physical activity in young children and their parents: A descriptive study. Paediatrics and Child Health, 17(3), e20-24.Google Scholar
- Carson, V., Tremblay, M. S., Spence, J. C., Timmons, B. W., & Janssen, I. (2013). The Canadian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for the Early Years (zero to four years of age) and screen time among children from Kingston, Ontario. Paediatrics and Child Health, 18(1), 25–28.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Colley, R. C., Garriguet, D., Adamo, K. B., Carson, V., Janssen, I., Timmons, B. W., & Tremblay, M. S. (2013). Physical activity and sedentary behavior during the early years in Canada: A cross-sectional study. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 10(1), 54–54.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Colley, R. C., Garriguet, D., Janssen, I., Craig, C. L., Clarke, J., & Tremblay, M. S. (2011). Physical activity of Canadian adults: Accelerometer results from the 2007 to 2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey. Health Reports (Statistics Canada, Catalogue 82—03), 22(1), 7–14.Google Scholar
- Dowda, M., Pfeiffer, K. a., Brown, W. H., Mitchell, J. a., Byun, W., & Pate, R. R. (2011). Parental and environmental correlates of physical activity of children attending preschool. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 165(10), 939–944. https://doi.org/10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Fisher, A., Reilly, J. J., Kelly, L. A., Montgomery, C., Williamson, A., Paton, J. Y., & Grant, S. (2005). Fundamental movement skills and habitual physical activity in young children. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 37(4), 684–688. https://doi.org/10.1249/01.MSS.0000159138.48107.7D.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Moore, L. L., Lombardi, D. A., White, M. J., Campbell, J. L., Oliveria, S. A., & Ellison, R. C. (1991). Influence of parents’ physical activity levels on activity levels of young children. The Journal of Pediatrics, 118(2), 215–219. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-3476(05)80485-8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Pfeiffer, K. A., McIver, K. L., Dowda, M., Almeida, M. J. C. A., & Pate, R. R. (2006). Validation and calibration of the Actical accelerometer in preschool children. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 38(1), 152–157. https://doi.org/10.1249/01.mss.0000183219.44127.e7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Rhodes, R. E., Berry, T., Craig, C. L., Faulkner, G., Latimer-Cheung, A., Spence, J. C., & Tremblay, M. S. (2013). Understanding parental support of child physical activity behaviour. American Journal of Health Behavior, 37(4), 469–477. https://doi.org/10.5993/AJHB.37.4.5.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Saakslahti, A., Numminen, P., Varstala, V., Helenius, H., Tammi, A., Viikari, J., & Valimaki, I. (2004). Physical activity as a preventive measure for coronary heart disease risk factors in early childhood. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 14, 143–149. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1600-0838.2003.00347.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Sijtsma, A., Sauer, P. J. J., & Corpeleijn, E. (2015). Parental correlations of physical activity and body mass index in young children- the GECKO Drenthe cohort. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 12(1), 132. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12966-015-0295-0.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Taylor, R. W., Murdoch, L., Carter, P., Gerrard, D. F., Williams, S. M., & Taylor, B. J. (2009). Longitudinal study of physical activity and inactivity in preschoolers: The FLAME study. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 41(1), 96–102. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181849d81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Tremblay, M. S., Leblanc, A. G., Carson, V., Choquette, L., Gorber, C., Dillman, S., Gorber, C., S. C (2012). Canadian physical activity guidelines for the early years (aged 0–4 years). Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 37, 370–380. https://doi.org/10.1139/H2012-018.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- van Sluijs, E. M. F., McMinn, A. M., Inskip, H. M., Ekelund, U., Godfrey, K. M., Harvey, N. C., & Griffin, S. J. (2013). Correlates of light and moderate-to-vigorous objectively measured physical activity in four-year-old children. PLoS ONE, 8(9), e74934-e74934. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0074934.CrossRefGoogle Scholar