Humans are programmed to copy; children are particularly influenced by those around them. Psychologist Albert Bandura believes that humans are active information processors; their behaviour is influenced by people (models) around them, parents are primary models. Therefore, it may be no surprise that the activity levels of mothers effects the activity levels of their children’s.
The journal of the ‘American Academy of Paediatrics’ published an article this month that showed a mother’s level of activity directly affects her young child’s. 554 mothers and their 4 year old children wore activity trackers over a week as part of the Southampton Women’s Survey. Not only was there a direct correlation in physical activity between both parties but shockingly only 53% of mother’s met the minimum recommended amount of exercise during the week (2 hours 30 minutes, around 21.5 minutes a day).
These results confirm last year’s report from Mayo Clinic’s Proceedings which stated that today’s mothers are far less active than 45 years ago. But, study leader Kathryn Hesket is optimistic and believes “it’s a positive thing that maternal physical activity levels can influence the activity level of their child…if more time is spent moving, then activity can increase in both”.
It is fairly common for women to be less physically active after they have children, but there is no excuse. However, duties don’t just fall on the shoulders of mother’s; father’s are just as important role models in a child’s life, both parents serve as ambassadors for the family.
Physical exercise is so important to your general health and with the threat of Dementia in today’s world, why would you not exercise?
Active children (and parents) are at reduced risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression and anxiety. They are also likely to perform better in school (or work).
For a bright, healthy and happy family get moving (and eat a nutritious balanced diet).