n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - A correlational study of the physical activity patterns of parents and their adolescent children

Supplement 2
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


Children tend to emulate their parents' lifestyles and habits. It is therefore possible that parental physical activity patterns could influence those of their adolescent children. The aim of this research was to determine the physical activity patterns of children and their parents and to establish whether any correlations existed between their patterns of physical activity. Various components of physical activities, which included vigorous activity, moderate activity and walking, were assessed. Fifty boys and fifty girls were randomly selected from two senior schools in the Western Cape, South Africa. Physical activity patterns of children and parents were elicited by means of a validated questionnaire. Results showed that 47% of the mothers of the girls participated in vigorous physical activity compared to 57% of fathers. In the case of boys, 59% of mothers and 69% of fathers participated in vigorous physical activity. Forty percent of mothers and 30% of fathers of the girls did not participate in moderate physical activities, while 20% of the fathers and 30% of the mothers of the boys did not participate in moderate physical activities. The results showed significant correlations between mothers and their sons as far as moderate and vigorous activities were concerned (r=.142 p<0.05 and r=.381 p<0.05). The significant associations suggest that parents do play a role in their children's activity practices and their activity patterns could hold indirect benefits for their children. Parents should be made aware of their potential roles as activity role models for their children. This information should further inform family-based-intervention-programmes.

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