Date of Graduation
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity every day for children. These recommendations are based on the evidence that physical activity has health benefits beyond weight control. Despite these benefits, most children are not taking part in the recommended levels of physical activity. Understanding factors influencing children's physical activity is important to developing successful intervention programs. Intrapersonal and interpersonal influences were found to have the greatest impact on child physical activity. The extent to which each factor predicts physical activity as children age is less understood. Furthermore, not every developmental age has been studied to determine if a single prediction model can predict child physical activity over time. There is, therefore, a current need for a conceptual model depicting parental influences on the physical activity of younger, elementary-aged children (ages 7-9), an age where physical activity levels are often peaking. A conceptual model of parental influences on childrenâ€™s physical activity will aid in development of programs targeting the most noteworthy aspects of parental influence. Further, expanding an existing conceptual model across age groups of children will aid in the development of comprehensive family-based physical activity promotion programs. The long-term goal of this work is to promote child health by increasing childrenâ€™s physical activity through theoretically driven, family-based health promotion programs. The objective of the study is to evaluate the usefulness of existing conceptual models of parental influences on physical activity of preschoolers and adolescents and among children ages 7-9. The first stage of this study was to adapt data collection tools, particularly related to measuring child self-efficacy for overcoming physical activity barriers and a child self-report activity log among 7-9 year-olds. Initial adaptation by the researcher, expert review, cognitive interviewing, and field-testing were used to assess the proposed data collection tools. Adaptions included: adding pictures to assist children with reading comprehension, providing definitions for words, and making changes to the format of the tools. Four child physical activity experts and a reading expert provided feedback on the initial adaptations. Ten parent-child dyads took part in the cognitive interviews and twenty-two dyads took part in the field-testing. Following these steps generally improved questionnaire quality and age appropriateness of the measures for the targeted population. The second stage of this study included more intensive psychometric analysis of all data collection tools that would be used in the conceptual model-testing portion of the study. Parentchild dyads (n = 174) completed self-report surveys and a subsample of dyads (n = 52) completed follow-surveys. Additionally, some children (n = 50) wore pedometers for one week in order to objectively measure their physical activity level. Both child-report and parent-report measures were found to have acceptable test-retest reliability. Additionally, the child-report and parent-report of child activity over the past week were significantly correlated with the pedometer logs. The final stage of this study included assessing currently available conceptual models for their use with the current sample population of 7-9 year olds and their parents. Two models have been published that are similar in the constructs assessed for their influence on preschool and adolescent physical activity. Both models had poor fit when applied to this new population; therefore, new models, using the same constructs, were developed. The new models had a better overall fit and explained approximately 8% of the variance in physical activity of the current study population. This study supports the importance of parental influences on child physical activity but also underscores the differences that must be taken into consideration in order to promote adequately physical activity as children age. Additional influences should be investigated so that researchers and interventionists can develop physical activity promotion programs that address the greatest number of and most influential physical activity influences.
Leary, Janie Marie, "Parental influence on physical activity of 7 to 9 year olds." (2011). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 9261.