These days, childhood obesity is an increasing issue for many parents. Recent research suggests that parents may have more to do with their children’s activity levels (and therefore regulation of body weight) than first thought.
The research study examined a group of mothers and their pre-school children in order to uncover any associations between mother and child activity levels. Findings showed a direct link between physical activity in children and their mothers. For every minute of moderate-to-vigorous activity a mother engaged in, her child was more likely to engage in 10 per cent more of the same level of activity.
Motherhood is associated with decreased activity levels…
It was noted that once women became mothers, their activity levels fell and often failed to return to previous levels. Such deficiency in activity levels could then influence their children. The study authors noted that a surprising amount of mothers (53%) did not engage in even 1 day/week of moderate physical activity.
This concept is not a new one. A 1991 study also noted similar results, citing the association to be likely due to parents’ serving as role models, sharing of activities by family members, enhancement and support by active parents of their child’s participation in physical activity, and genetically transmitted factors that predispose the child to increased levels of physical activity.
Simply walking and moving more each day could lead to great benefits. Encouraging children to play outside and limiting time in front of electronic devices is also recommended. Even toddlers should be involved in active play.
Food choices also play a huge role in maintaining activity levels and weight management in children. Wholefoods are best, with plenty of fruit and vegetables. Reducing or eliminating lollies, sugary drinks and fried foods and replacing them with low GI wholefoods will help to maintain energy levels throughout the day.
 Hesketh. K.R et al. Activity levels in mothers and their pre-school children. Pediatrics. 2014 Mar 24
Moore, L.L. Influence of parents physical activity levels on activity levels of young children. J Pediatr. 1991 Feb;118(2):215-9