Predicting Child Physical Activity and Screen Time: Parental Support for Physical Activity and General Parenting Styles


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Abstract

Objective: To examine relationships between parenting styles and practices and child moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and screen time. Methods: Participants were children (6.9 ± 1.8 years) with a body mass index in the 70–95th percentile and their parents (421 dyads). Parent-completed questionnaires assessed parental support for child physical activity (PA), parenting styles and child screen time. Children wore accelerometers to assess MVPA. Results: Parenting style did not predict MVPA, but support for PA did (positive association). The association between support and MVPA, moreover, varied as a function of permissive parenting. For parents high in permissiveness, the association was positive (greater support was related to greater MVPA and therefore protective). For parents low in permissiveness, the association was neutral; support did not matter. Authoritarian and permissive parenting styles were both associated with greater screen time. Conclusions: Parenting practices and styles should be considered jointly, offering implications for tailored interventions.

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