Cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between parents’ and preschoolers' physical activity and TV viewing (#224)
Background: Parental modelling may be important for the development of physical activity (PA) and sedentary behaviours in children, yet little is known about its impact in the preschool years and beyond. This study examined associations between parent and child PA and TV viewing behaviours when children were at preschool and again 3 years later.
Methods: In 2008-9 (T1), parents in the HAPPY cohort study (n=516) self-reported their usual weekly PA and TV viewing, and proxy-reported their partner’s PA and TV, and their 3-5 year-old preschool child’s TV viewing. Children wore accelerometers for eight days to measure their light-, moderate-, and vigorous-intensity PA (LMVPA). Repeat data collection occurred in 2011-12 (T2). Linear regression models tested associations between T1 parental behaviours and corresponding child behaviours at T1 and T2, stratified by child gender and adjusting for socioeconomic covariates and clustering by recruitment centre. Physical activity analyses adjusted for accelerometer wear-time; longitudinal analyses adjusted for T1 child behaviours.
Results: Mother (B=0.18;CI95=0.03-0.32) and father (B=0.13;CI95=0.01-0.24) PA levels predicted LMVPA among preschool girls at T1, but not boys. Parents’ TV viewing times were significant correlates of girls’ (mothers: B=0.33;CI95=0.20-0.46; fathers: B=0.22;CI95=0.05-0.38) and boys’ (mothers: B=0.39;CI95=0.26-0.59; fathers: B=0.24;CI95=0.10-0.37) TV viewing at T1. When mothers’ and fathers’ health behaviours were entered in models simultaneously, fathers’ PA was more strongly related to preschoolers’ PA, but for girls only, while mothers’ TV viewing was more strongly related to preschool children’s TV time, for both sexes. Longitudinally, sex-specific associations were found for TV viewing, with child behaviour at follow-up associated only with that of their same-gender parent at T1 (mother/daughter: B=0.16;CI95=0.03-0.28; father/son: B=0.13;CI95=0.00-0.27).
Conclusions: The PA and TV viewing of both parents may be important influences on preschool children’s behaviours. As children get older the influence of the gender-matched parent may take precedence, particularly for TV viewing.