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Obes Rev. 2012 Nov;13(11):1015-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2012.01018.x. Epub 2012 Jul 30.

Physical activity parenting: a systematic review of questionnaires and their associations with child activity levels.

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  • 1Department of Health Promotion, Nutrition and Toxicology Research Institute Maastricht (NUTRIM), Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, The Netherlands.


Insufficient physical activity (PA) is considered a critical contributor to childhood overweight. Parents are a key in influencing their child's PA through various mechanisms of PA parenting, including support, restriction of PA and facilitation of enrolment in PA classes or activities. However, study findings are difficult to compare because instruments vary in terms of constructs, psychometric assessment and type of PA assessed. The goal of the current review was to identify existing PA parenting questionnaires and report on the validation of these measures through findings of their psychometric performance and correlation to youth's PA. The search of eligible studies was restricted to instruments with multiple items. Eleven unique PA parenting questionnaires were identified, and 46 studies that used these instruments were included. Extracted data include sample characteristics, as well as type and assessment methods of parental influence and PA. Findings highlight the tremendous variation in the conceptualization and measurement of PA parenting, common use of non-validated instruments and lack of comprehensive measures. The development of theory-based PA parenting measures (preferably multidimensional) should be prioritized to guide the study of the parental role in promoting child's PA as well as the design of family-based PA interventions.

© 2012 The Authors. obesity reviews © 2012 International Association for the Study of Obesity.

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