I once attended a conference in San Diego during where Dr. Oz held a session on family health. He highlighted that children mimic their parent’s–especially mom’s–activities and that when a mother neglects her own health, children tend to do the same. A new paper published in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that the less physically active a mother is, the less likely her child will be active early in life.
The study, which examined the physical activity of 554 mothers and their 4-year-olds, found that a child is more engaged in activity if their mother made exercise a priority. Both mothers and children wore a device for a week to measure heart rate and body movement.
“It’s a positive thing that maternal physical activity levels can influence the activity level of their child,” Kathryn Hesket, the study’s lead author, told Reuters Health. “If more time is spent moving, then activity can increase in both.”
According to the CBS News article, the study also falls in line with others that support the fact that mothers often serve as leaders in the health and wellness of their family, especially their youngest children. Early practices of exercising for a young child means decreased likelihood of chronic health conditions like obesity and diabetes as well as warding off mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression into adulthood.
Based on previous research, this study supports the idea that women are less active than they were 45 years ago and tend to exercise less once they become mothers.
BMWK—Do these statistics apply to you? How are you or how will you implement more exercise with your children?