If you are worried that your child isn't being as active as he or she could be, then it may be time you start increasing the amount of time you spend on physical activities. New research has shown that children increase their physical activity when they see their parents exercising.
The study included 83 families who were a part of a family based intervention program to tackle obesity and overweight among children aged 7 to 14. Participants were encouraged to walk an additional 2,000 steps every day. All the 83 mothers participated in the program compared to just 34 fathers.
The researchers found that on days when mothers exceeded their daily requirement of 2,000 steps, their children tended to walk another 2,117 steps on an average. The pattern remained the same for father- child interaction. When either parent failed to reach the daily goal, the children failed too.
Researchers found that weekends were the time when people in the intervention program exercised more. They say that Saturdays and Sundays are the best days to encourage children to increase the time that they spend on physical activities.
"It has long been known that parent and child activity levels are correlated. This is the first intervention-based study to prospectively demonstrate that when parents increase their activity, children increase theirs as well. The effect was more pronounced on weekends," said Kristen Holm, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine at National Jewish Health. Research has shown that kids who are engaged in any kind of physical activity every day tend to be happy and suffer from fewer behavioral problems than kids who spend time indoors watching television.
Recently, a new study had found out that children are spending less than 20 minutes per day on playing whereas the recommended playtime for children is more than 60 minutes per day.
The study was published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health.