Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Active future is a healthy future:

Experts from around the world meeting in Sydney to discuss strategies for getting our children moving.
By Motherpedia
Date: October 31 2012
Editor Rating:

We've certainly written about it before - but we're all sitting too much and our children are not getting enough physical activity.

Research to be presented by Dr Dale Esliger from Loughborough University, UK, in Sydney today shows that children accumulate 4.5 hours of sedentary time each day from 3-6 years of age which steadily increases to be as high as 8 hours a day once they’re 18 years old. The increase in sedentary time is the steepest between 11-13 years.

Dr Elsiger is one of the many experts to speak at be active 2012, Australia’s paramount sports medicine, sports science, sports injury prevention and physical activity promotion conference to be held from October 31- November 3

“Methods of counteracting the incline need to be developed, based upon an improved understanding of this phenomenon and its causes,” said Dr Esliger.

Overcoming children’s sedentary levels will be a focus of the be active 2012 conference, with numerous presentations looking at how to reduce sitting and inactivity within the home and school settings.

Dr Andrew Atkin from the UKCRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research said there are many factors at home and in the family that can influence sedentary time.

We found that the home setting is an important sphere of influence on changes in the sedentary behaviour of children. For example, children of different social class have different sedentary time patterns. Parental rules and their own sedentary behaviour habits can also be influential,” said Dr Atkin.

“Intervention strategies that aim to reduce parent’s weekend screen-time, increase family participation in sports and recreation (for boys) and promote freedom to play outside (for girls) may contribute towards preventing the increase in sedentary time as children get older,” said Dr Atkin.

Further research to be presented highlights that health promotion interventions should promote strategies to limit electronic media equipment in the home including in children’s bedrooms. TV limiting devices and active video games show some promise for decreasing sedentary screen time and increasing children’s activity at home.

Dr Amanda Staiano from Pennington Biomedical Research Center said having a television in the bedroom was associated with 2.7 greater odds of elevated cardiometabolic risk among youth.

“Television in the bedroom and watching more than two hours a day are associated with greater odds of elevated waist circumference. Reduced television viewing could protect our youth,” said Dr Staiano.

Another way to encourage physical activity is by parents playing a key role in providing physical activity opportunities for their children, as well as adopting attitudes, parenting practices and behaviours that influence physical activity behaviours.

“The importance of the family in influencing the physical activity behaviours of children is well established. Emerging evidence has highlighted the importance of fathers as role models and facilitators of physical activity for their children.

“Our findings will show that targeting and improving a father’s physical activity-related parenting practice may be a promising strategy to improve children’s physical activity levels,” said Adam Lloyd from the University of Newcastle who will present the Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids project. 

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