Physical activity and screen-media-related parenting practices have different associations with children's objectively measured physical activity

Child Obes. 2013 Oct;9(5):446-53. doi: 10.1089/chi.2012.0131. Epub 2013 Sep 12.


Background: Children's physical activity (PA) is inversely associated with children's weight status. Parents may be an important influence on children's PA by restricting sedentary time or supporting PA. The aim of this study was to investigate the association of PA and screen-media-related [television (TV) and videogame] parenting practices with children's PA.

Methods: Secondary analyses of baseline data were performed from an intervention with 9- to 12-year-olds who received active or inactive videogames (n=83) to promote PA. Children's PA was assessed with 1 week of accelerometry at baseline. Parents reported their PA, TV, and videogame parenting practices and child's bedroom screen-media availability. Associations were investigated using Spearman's partial correlations and linear regressions.

Results: Although several TV and videogame parenting practices were significantly intercorrelated, only a few significant correlations existed between screen-media and PA parenting practices. In linear regression models, restrictive TV parenting practices were associated with greater child sedentary time (p=0.03) and less moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA; p=0.01). PA logistic support parenting practices were associated with greater child MVPA (p=0.03). Increased availability of screen-media equipment in the child's bedroom was associated with more sedentary time (p=0.02) and less light PA (p=0.01) and MVPA (p=0.05) in all three models.

Conclusion: In this cross-sectional sample, restrictive screen-media and supportive PA parenting practices had opposite associations with children's PA. Longitudinal and experimental child PA studies should assess PA and screen-media parenting separately to understand how parents influence their child's PA behaviors and whether the child's baseline PA or screen media behaviors affect the parent's use of parenting practices. Recommendations to remove screens from children's bedrooms may also affect their PA.

Trial registration: NCT01024153.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child Behavior* / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise* / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parenting*
  • Parents / psychology
  • Pediatric Obesity / epidemiology
  • Pediatric Obesity / etiology
  • Pediatric Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Television*
  • Texas / epidemiology
  • Time Factors
  • Video Games*

Associated data