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Res Q Exerc Sport. 1993 Sep;64(3):249-55.

Parental influences on childhood fitness and activity patterns.

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Cardiovascular Health in Children Study, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of parental attitudes and self-reported exercise habits on the fitness and activity levels of their children. One parent from each of 1,253 families was asked about exercise habits and completed the Exercise Benefits and Barriers Scale (EBBS) to determine their personal attitudes toward exercise. The children completed a self-reported activity questionnaire (SRA) and had their aerobic power predicted using a cycle ergometer test. Multiple regression indicated that the parents' EBBS scores were weakly associated with the child's maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max); the mothers' association was significant, but the fathers was not. The children's SRA scores were not correlated with parents' attitudes or exercise habits. These results suggest either that factors other than parental attitudes and exercise habits are more influential in determining the fitness and activity levels of children or that the instruments lack precision. Thus, to improve the cardiovascular fitness of children, we need to examine factors in the child's environment that may be more influential than parental attitudes and examples.

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