Healthy Family Habits
Posted: Thu, 16 May 2019 08:51
In this blog we explore the importance of the family, or role models, on raising physical activity levels of children and young people. We delve into the research on this subject, and also suggest some easy wins if you want to effect a change in family activity levels
What we know:
We know for a fact, as It has been widely documented and backed up by research, that physical activity is important for our health on so many levels! The World Health Organisation recommends children get 'at least one hour of moderate to vigorous activity every day'. This will help them maintain a healthy weight and keep their hearts, brains and bodies healthy.
Modern society has seen a rise in physical inactivity, and the recent data set from Sport England's Active Lives Children Survey showed that 17.5% of children achieved 60 minutes of physical activity.
So what about the role of parents and families?
As professionals in the sport and physical activity field, we are fully aware of and sold on the health benefits of physical activity already. But are we doing enough to influence and support families rather than individuals?
There are many influences on how active young people can be, school sport/PE, their peer group are two, but parents play a hugely important role in increasing their children's physical activity levels. Sport England's research shows that children aged 4-7 are 3.5 to 6 times more likely to be active if one or both parents are active! Just take that figure in for a second - up to 6 times more likely to be active is a huge increase in likelihood.
It's clear from this research that parents are very powerful role models to children. By choosing physical activity over screen time, or other sedentary activities or active travel over motorised alternatives or simply playing with children in an active environment, parents can encourage and instil active lifestyles as a way of life. From walking, cycling and scooting to school and encouraging physical activity in their spare time, through active family day trips, trips to the park, playing games in the back garden to name a few examples, parents can help support children to reach 60 active minutes each day.
Parents are instrumental in helping children to be active by planning in time for organised sport and physical activity. From transporting or accompanying children to various activities, supporting on the side-lines and in some cases taking up the necessary voluntary positions to keep the clubs running all help set good examples.
If we as an organisation are to be effective in helping to reduce inactivity in families, we need to be working as closely as possible with schools, teachers, clubs and all our partner organisations who can help to influence the system that families and especially young people work in, to ensure they have positive role models in their family unit.
We already work a lot in this space, but will continue to explore new partnerships or funding streams which can help maximise this work.
If you want to get in touch with us to explore the topic further, or talk about families and physical activity further, please get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's a few ideas on local family friendly physical activity initiatives to help promote or share through your networks.
- Check out the Change 4 Life website for some fun ideas on how to be active.
- Try a taster session with either Big Tennis Weekend (18th/19th May) or Push the Boat Out (various dates in May)
- Fun Run?Junior Parkrun is a free of charge 2km run aimed at children and their families, find out more here.
- Cricket All Stars run a 10 week participation programme, find a club near you: Cricket All Stars