PARENTS’ ENDORSEMENT OF VIGOROUS TEAM SPORTS INCREASES CHILDREN’S PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, SAY RESEARCHERS
But Parents Push Girls Less Toward Sports and Vigorous Chores, According to New Study
Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and
The findings appear in the July issue of Health Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association.
Endorsing all types of exercise – both team sports and individual sports – increased boys’ activity levels but not girls’, the study said.
“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.”
Vigorous team sports included basketball and soccer, and moderate team sports included baseball/softball, volleyball and football. Intense individual activity included running, cycling, swimming and skating, and moderate individual activity included walking, biking around the neighborhood and golf.
Household chores were also included as a form of physical activity. Vigorous household chores included heavy yard work and moving furniture; moderate household chores included cleaning, raking leaves, weeding and carrying groceries.
Parents’ attitudes toward household chores had unexpected influences on children’s attitudes and activity levels, the researchers said. “Cleaning house and doing laundry was associated with a decrease in boys’ sport team p
Demographic and ethnic factors also played a role in attitudes toward physical activity, both in sports and chores. Hispanic parents did not value strenuous household chores for children of either sex. Families with more children valued chores more, and families with more education (and money to pay for housekeeping and yard work) valued them less, the study found.
Hispanic parents encouraged their sons to play vigorous team and individual sports but did not encourage their daughters,
More educated parents placed higher value on both vigorous- and moderate-intensity individual or team sports for boys but did not place as high a value for girls,
“Playing team sports, especially the more strenuous ones, really makes a difference in decreasing both boys’ and girls’ media use and making them more active,”
Article: “Parent-Child Attitude Congruence on Type and Intensity of Physical Activity: Testing Multiple Mediators of Sedentary Behavior in Older Children,” Cheryl B. Anderson, PhD, and Sheryl O. Hughes, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine; Bernard F. Fuemmeler, PhD, Duke University Medical Center; Health Psychology, Vol. 28, No. 4.
(Full text of the
The American Psychological Association, in
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