Parents should team with kids to encourage exercise

March 5, 2014 by Sharyn Alden
Parents should team with kids to encourage exercise

Parents can help motivate kids to be more physically active, but the influence may not result in an improvement in their children's body mass index (BMI), finds a new evidence review in the American Journal of Health Promotion.

"It was disappointing to find the overall impact of interventions on was so minimal. It was encouraging, though, to find parents' influence matters in this area, even with older children and teens," said the review's lead author Jane Cerruti Dellert, Ph.D., RN, assistant professor and director of the pediatric nurse practitioner program at the Seton Hall University College of Nursing in New Jersey.

Health promotion advocates attempting to reduce obesity in American children need to address the role of parents in their children's health-related behaviors, she added.

Researchers compared the results of 21 weight loss or physical activity studies from peer-reviewed journals, dissertations and theses that tested interventions with children, parents or families. The meta-analysis included sample sizes from 31 to 1495 for a total of 6694 children. The most common duration for the studies was 12 weeks and most involved education about exercise and physical activity training.

Across all studies there was little impact on either increasing children's physical activity or reducing their BMI, but, Dellert said, when they looked at studies that involved parents with their children in the interventions, they found a clear positive effect on children's physical activity.

"I would hope that health professionals providing to children would be encouraged to continue or expand efforts to support physical activity as a lifestyle for children of all ages and their parents. And I would really hope, that would routinely include, even in very basic coverage plans, reimbursement for health services to combat obesity, such as health counseling and education," said Dellert.

Stephen Pont, M.D. MPH, medical director for the Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity, commented that because many unhealthy influences impact , it is difficult to design studies that address enough factors to demonstrate a statistically significant improvement in childhood obesity. "This meta-analysis included a limited number but a diverse variety. However, I don't think it included a sufficient number of studies to be able to comment on the broad effectiveness of targeting children alone or children and parents together."

Still, Pont noted that when make lifestyle changes along with their family members, the changes are more apt to be long lasting and impactful. Pont added that it is asking a lot, often too much, of a child or a teenager to make healthy changes and choices alone.

Explore further: Children with ADHD have higher risk of teenage obesity and physical inactivity

Related Stories

Children with ADHD have higher risk of teenage obesity and physical inactivity

March 4, 2014
Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely to become obese and sedentary teenagers, according to new research.

Many parents of obese children underestimate their weight

February 3, 2014
(HealthDay)—Half the parents of overweight or obese children don't think their kids have a weight problem, a new analysis reveals.

Parents have big influence on kids' physical activity, study finds

January 14, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—With New Year's resolutions upon us, new research from the University of Alberta offers encouragement for parents who want to achieve fitness for the whole family.

Study analyzes diabetes drug metformin as obesity treatment for children

December 16, 2013
Treatment with the diabetes drug metformin appears to be associated with a modest reduction in body mass index (BMI) in obese children when combined with lifestyle interventions such as diet and exercise, according to a study ...

Being overweight makes children less active

January 23, 2014
A new study from the University of Copenhagen's OPUS Research Centre reports that being overweight makes children less active. The findings underscore that parents of overweight children have an obligation to keep their children ...

Study finds parental stress linked to obesity in children

December 6, 2013
Parental stress is linked to weight gain in children, according to a new study from St. Michael's Hospital. The study found that children whose parents have high levels of stress have a Body Mass Index, or BMI, about 2 per ...

Recommended for you

Schoolchildren who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try tobacco

August 17, 2017
Vaping - or the use of e-cigarettes - is widely accepted as a safer option for people who are already smoking.

Study shows cigarette makers shifted stance on nicotine patches, gum

August 17, 2017
The use of nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers or nasal sprays—together called "nicotine replacement therapy," or NRT—came into play in 1984 as prescription medicine, which when combined with counseling, helped ...

In a nutshell: Walnuts activate brain region involved in appetite control

August 17, 2017
Packed with nutrients linked to better health, walnuts are also thought to discourage overeating by promoting feelings of fullness. Now, in a new brain imaging study, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) ...

Federal snack program does not yield expected impacts, researchers find

August 17, 2017
A well-intentioned government regulation designed to offer healthier options in school vending machines has failed to instill better snacking habits in a sample of schools in Appalachian Virginia, according to a study by ...

Energy dense foods may increase cancer risk regardless of obesity status

August 17, 2017
Diet is believed to play a role in cancer risk. Current research shows that an estimated 30% of cancers could be prevented through nutritional modifications. While there is a proven link between obesity and certain types ...

Technology is changing Generation smartphone, and not always for the better

August 16, 2017
It's easy to imagine some graybeard long ago weighing in on how this new generation, with all its fancy wheels, missed out on the benefits of dragging stuff from place to place.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.