If Moms Get Moving, So will Kids

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Orlando Sentinel ( March 26, 2014)


The amount of physical activity mothers get is linked to their children’s activity levels, according to a new study from the U.K.

Researchers found that the exact relationship between mother and child physical activity depended on certain lifestyle factors, however.

“It’s a positive thing that maternal activity levels can influence the activity level of a child,” said Kathryn Hesketh. “If more time is spent moving, then activity can increase in both.” Hesketh is the study’s lead author from the Institute of Child Health at University College London. She worked on the study while at the University of Cambridge.

She said her colleagues wrote in the Journal Pediatrics that physical activity is tied to development among kids, but activity levels are known to fall as people get older, especially after they have kids.

For the study, the researchers used data from 554  (4 year-olds) and their mothers. Both kids and mothers wore devices that tracked their movements for 14 to 15 waking hours over the course of a week.

Among children, about five of those hours were spent sitting or standing still. About eight hours were spent on light activity such as walking and about one hour was spent on moderate to vigorous activity like running.

Among mothers, about an hour was spent sitting or standing still, while seven hours were spenT on light and moderate to vigorous activity.

More-active mothers tended to have more active children.  The strength of the association varied depending of the child’s weight, time spent at school, the mother’s education, and the time of the day and week, according to researchers.

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