Introduction If we can identify factors that influence physical activity (PA) in young years, we can possibly address these to achieve more physically active children. We therefore tried to identify factors, across several domains that in young children was associated with PA.
Materials and method We assessed in a population based cohort of 341 children (189 boys and 152 girls) aged 7.7±0.6 years (mean ±SD), duration of PA and factors within demographic/biological, psychological/behavioural, social and environmental domains through a questionnaire. Height and weight was measured by standard measurements. We used ANCOVA model to evaluate factors that independently associated with PA.
Result The factors included in the model explained 21% of the variance in duration of PA (21% in boys and 29% in girls). Parental attitude was the only factor that in all children was independently associated with duration of PA. Children with parents finding PA of importance spent 1.5 (0.6, 2.3) (mean, 95% CI) hours more on PA per week (boys 2.5 (1.1, 3.9) and girls 0.6 (-0.4, 1.5)), than children with parents not regarding PA as being important.
Conclusion In 8 year old children, parental attitude towards PA was in our model the only independent factor associated with duration of PA. It therefore seems reasonable to influence parent’s attitude when designing interventions that aim at improve PA in young children.
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