Parental Responsibilities May Prevent Parents from Engaging In Physical Activity, Study Shows

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A recent study from the University of Houston reveals that parents with multiple small children find it challenging to maintain a regular exercise routine. They tend to engage in 50 to 80 fewer minutes of vigorous physical activity per week compared to others.

Parents with more children likely to engage in less exercise

Researchers have found that adults with two or more young children engage in less exercise compared to those without children. This has important implications for busy parents who want to be more physically active but face challenges due to parenting responsibilities.

The findings are from an examination of data sourced from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) during the period from 2007 to 2016. The study involved a cohort of 2,034 individuals aged between 22 and 65 years.

The study aimed to examine the link between physical activity levels and the number and children’s age in a household. The findings showed that adults with two or more children under five years old engaged in 80 fewer minutes of vigorous physical activity per week compared to those with no children or only one child of similar age.

Additionally, parents with more than three children aged 6-17 engaged in 50 minutes less of weekly physical activity relative to those with less than two or no children. However, there were no significant differences in weekly moderate physical activity based on the number of children in a household.

Parents who engage in physical activity can influence their kids’ trajectories

Chief Population Health Officer at University of Houston and study co-author Bettina Beech said that parents often find it challenging to get energy and time for regular physical activity when raising children. It is important to understand these barriers so that individuals can create targeted interventions to assist parentis in leading healthier and active lives.

Lead study author Jerraco Johnson said that parents are main role models for their children when it comes to health behaviors. Creating time for physical activity can help influence young children’s health trajectories especially for parents with multiple children.

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