Parent's Physical Activity Associated With Preschooler Activity in Underserved Populations

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Introduction In the U.S., children from low-income families are more likely to be obese. The impact of parent modeling of physical activity (PA) and sedentary behaviors in low-income American ethnic minorities is unclear, and studies examining objective measures of preschooler and parent PA are sparse. Methods This cross-sectional study examined 1,003 parent–child pairs who were of low income, largely Latino and African American, and living in one of two geographically disparate metropolitan areas in the U.S. Parents and children wore GT3X/GT3X+ accelerometers for an average of >12 hours/day (7:00AM–9:00PM) for 1 week (September 2012 to May 2014). Analysis occurred in 2015–2016. Results About 75% of children were Latino and >10% were African American. Mean child age was 3.9 years. The majority of children (60%) were normal weight (BMI ≥50th and <85th percentiles), and more than a third were overweight/obese. Children's total PA was 6.03 hours/day, with 1.5 hours spent in moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA). Covariate-adjusted models showed a monotonic, positive association between parent and child minutes of sedentary behavior (β=0.10, 95% CI=0.06, 0.15) and light PA (β=0.06; 95% CI=0.03, 0.09). Child and parent MVPA were positively associated up to 40 minutes/day of parent MVPA, but an inverse association was observed when parental MVPA was beyond 40 minutes/day (p=0.002). Conclusions Increasing parental PA and reducing sedentary behavior correlate with increased PA-related behaviors in children. However, more work is needed to understand the impact of high levels of parental MVPA on the MVPA levels of their children.




Barkin, S. L., Lamichhane, A. P., Banda, J. A., JaKa, M. M., Buchowski, M. S., Evenson, K. R., … Stevens, J. (2017). Parent’s Physical Activity Associated With Preschooler Activity in Underserved Populations. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 52(4), 424–432.

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