Parents, if you want your kids to stop watching television and get moving, you should avoid the couch yourself. That common-sense recommendation comes from a U.K. study showing that preteens are more likely to watch high levels of television if their parents do. From a University of Bristol release:
The study found that higher parental TV viewing was associated with an increased risk of high levels of TV viewing for both boys and girls. For girls, the relative risk of watching more than four hours of TV per day was 3.67 times higher if the girl's parent watched two-four hours of TV per day, when compared to girls who watched less than two hours of TV per day.
For boys, the relative risk of watching more than four hours of TV per day was 10.47 times higher if the boy's parent watched more than four hours of TV per day when compared to boys who watched less than two hours of TV per day...
Interestingly, the researchers found no associations between the amounts of time that parents and their children engaged in physical activity. The good news, then, is that even inactive parents can help their children choose less sedentary activities than watching TV - and potentially prevent obesity. Lead author Russ Jago, PhD, said parents should "look at ways in which they can help to facilitate physical activity for their children such as by encouraging walking to school or promoting outdoor free-play in safe areas close to home."
This study was part of a larger project examining the influences of peers and parents on physical activity participation in 10- and 11-year-old children.
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