#ScibraaiSides: Parents could be moulding their kids into coach potatoes – or not

Are you a bit of an authoritarian when it comes to parenting your children? Then the chances are good that your offspring will be physically more active than the children of people who follow an easy going, laissezfaire style.

So say two researchers of the University of the Western Cape, after systematically reviewing available studies that focus on the impact that parenting styles can have on children’s involvement in physical activity. An active lifestyle is important to ensure that children are healthy and enjoy high levels of well-being.

Their findings are published in the African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance.

Eleven articles were included in the review, and included studies from the USA, Iran, Australia, Pacific Island, North East England and Northern Taiwan. The age groups of the participants featured in the studies ranged from birth to adolescence.

“Parenting styles were related to the promotion of physical activity,” writes Eugene Davids and Nicolette Roman. “The majority of studies found a positive relationship between authoritative parenting styles and physical activity.”

activekids parents are generally seen as more strict.

“This study provides a good perspective for better understanding the role of parental relations in the context of postmodern sedentary society,” adds the UWC researchers.

Reference: Davids, E.L. & Roman, N.V. (2014). A systematic review of the relationship between parenting styles and children’s physical activity, African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance


Engela Duvenage

Co-founder of SciBraai.co.za. Day job: Science writer and science communicator who loves turning research papers into news stories. Claim to fame: mother of two daughters; winner of the Izethelo Award for Outstanding Journalism (2016) from the South African fruit industry, and winner of the best technical article award (2016) as presented by the South African Agricultural Writers' Association Background: MPhil (Journalism, specialising in science journalism) and HonsBA (Psychology).

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