Physical activity during early childhood is a prerequisite for healthy development in many cases. The aim of this study was to assess the relationships of social modelling and support from parents, peers, and siblings and domain-specific physical activity participation in a nationwide sample of preschool boys and girls from Germany. 519 preschool children aged 4-6 and one of their parents participated in the 'MoMo' Wave 1 Study between 2009 and 2012. Participants and their parents provided self-reported data on social support modelling, and domain-specific physical activity participation (physical activity in sports clubs, physical activity outside of sports clubs, and outdoor play). Parental, peer, and sibling support and modelling were related to domain-specific physical activity: Parental support was particularly relevant for physical activity in sports clubs, and peer support for outdoor play. Parental modelling was only related to physical activity outside of sports clubs: Maternal modelling was a positive correlate in girls and paternal modelling in boys, respectively. Sibling and peer modelling were especially relevant for physical activity in sports clubs. The results were heterogeneous regarding types and providers of support and modelling. Thus, different providers and types of support should be targeted in physical activity promotion programs for preschool children.
Keywords: Germany; child; child care; exercise; parents; social environment.