Passive parents make for fat kids

Sunday Star Times 30/08/2009

Children are more likely to be fat if their parents are inactive, according to a new study that rigorously measured the movements of Kiwi families. The study has proven parents’ activity levels are critical in determining those of their children, and has reignited the debate about whether parents or schools should be taking the lead in the obesity fight. The Auckland University of Technology (AUT) study, unlike past ones, did not rely on self-reported activity levels from parents but instead used accelerometers (advanced pedometers) to track the movements of Auckland pre- schoolers and their parents.

The 78 children, 62 mothers and 20 fathers who took part had their height, weight, and waist circumference measured and wore accelerometers for a week. The parents were also quizzed about how physically active they were that week with their child or whether they took their child out to a playground, park, beach or similar setting. Results showed children are more likely to be physically active if their parents were. However, researchers say more detailed work needs to be done to determine exact reasons.