Boys from low income families move less

April 3, 2017, University of Eastern Finland

Parents' income and educational level are associated with their children's physical activity and screen time, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. Lower income and educational levels were associated with less supervised physical activity in particular. In boys, these were also associated with more screen time.

The study analysed various components of children's and sedentary behaviour, and their associations with parents' and educational level. The study included 238 girls and 248 boys, all of them 6-8 years old, whose physical activity and sedentary time were studied by using detailed questionnaires. Confounding factors ranging from age and gender to the time of year of filling out the questionnaire were controlled for in the analyses. The findings were published in the European Journal of Sport Science, and they constitute part of the Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children (PANIC) Study carried out in the University of Eastern Finland.

Low socio-economic family background reduces physical activity especially in boys

Parents' low income and low educational level were associated with lower amounts of supervised physical activity in particular. Children from families with the lowest income and educational levels were two times less likely to participate in supervised physical activity than other children. In boys, parents' low was also associated with lower amounts of overall physical activity. Furthermore, boys from families with the lowest income or educational levels spent had nearly five hours more of weekly than other boys.

"These significant differences in children's amount of physical activity, caused by their different socio-economic backgrounds, are a cause of concern especially among boys. Tools for increasing the amount of physical activity and reducing screen time should be made available to children coming from families with the lowest socio-economic backgrounds in particular," says Eeva Lampinen, MSc (Sport and Health Sciences), from the University of Eastern Finland.

Half of children get recommended amounts of physical activity and screen time

The study found that the average daily amount of physical activity was 1.7 hours for girls and two hours for boys. Nearly half of the overall physical activity was unsupervised in nature. In Finland, the recommended daily amount of physical activity for school children is two hours. The study found that 44 per cent of girls and 56 per cent of boys got the recommended amount of daily physical activity. However, nearly half of the children had more than the recommended two hours of screen time, especially on weekends.

"A delightfully positive thing about our findings is the fact that the majority of 's daily physical was unsupervised. This shows that it is not necessary to engage in supervised sports to get the recommended amount of exercise," Lampinen concludes.

Explore further: Sedentary lifestyle may impair academic performance in boys

More information: Eeva-Kaarina Lampinen et al, Physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and socioeconomic status among Finnish girls and boys aged 6–8 years, European Journal of Sport Science (2017). DOI: 10.1080/17461391.2017.1294619

Related Stories

Sedentary lifestyle may impair academic performance in boys

November 30, 2016
A sedentary lifestyle is linked to poorer reading skills in the first three school years in 6-8 year old boys, according to a new study from Finland. The study conducted at the University of Eastern Finland in collaboration ...

Brisk exercise linked to better arterial health already in childhood

February 6, 2017
High levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity are associated with lower arterial stiffness in 6-8-year-old children, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. No similar association was found ...

Study finds that few children meet daily exercise guideline goals

January 9, 2017
Guidelines recommend that children get an hour of exercise every day, including a half hour during school. Unfortunately, a study finds that few kids are meeting that goal, with girls particularly likely to fall short during ...

Exchanging sedentariness for low-intensity physical activity can prevent weight gain in children

October 20, 2016
As little as 10 minutes of high-intensity physical activity per day reduces the amount of adipose tissue and enhances cardiorespiratory fitness in 6-8-year-old children, according to a new study from the University of Eastern ...

Physical activity levels may start tailing off by age of 7 in both boys and girls

March 13, 2017
Physical activity levels may start tailing off as early as the age of 7, rather than during adolescence as is widely believed, reveals a long term study of British children, published online in the British Journal of Sports ...

High levels of physical activity linked to better academic performance in boys

September 11, 2014
A recent Finnish study shows that higher levels of physical activity are related to better academic achievement during the first three school years particularly in boys.

Recommended for you

Your heart hates air pollution. Portable filters could help

November 13, 2018
Microscopic particles floating in the air we breathe come from sources such as fossil fuel combustion, fires, cigarettes and vehicles. Known as fine particulate matter, this form of air pollution increases the risk of cardiovascular ...

No accounting for these tastes: Artificial flavors a mystery

November 13, 2018
Six artificial flavors are being ordered out of the food supply in a dispute over their safety, but good luck to anyone who wants to know which cookies, candies or drinks they're in.

Simple tips can lead to better food choices

November 13, 2018
A few easily learned tips on eating and food choice can increase amount of healthy food choices between 5 percent and 11 percent, a new Yale University study has found.

Insufficient sleep in children is associated with poor diet, obesity and more screen time

November 13, 2018
A new study conducted among more than 177,000 students suggests that insufficient sleep duration is associated with an unhealthy lifestyle profile among children and adolescents.

New exercise guidelines: Move more, sit less, start younger

November 12, 2018
Move more, sit less and get kids active as young as age 3, say new federal guidelines that stress that any amount and any type of exercise helps health.

Some activity fine for kids recovering from concussions, docs say

November 12, 2018
(HealthDay)—Children and teens who suffer a sports-related concussion should reduce, but not eliminate, physical and mental activity in the days after their injury, an American Academy of Pediatrics report says.

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.