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Family and Peer Influences

Recommendation

There are currently no specific recommendations for parental or peer influence on children/young people’s sports participation or physical activity, although many studies have shown a relationship between parent and childhood activity (Trost et al. 2003).

The UK-wide Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines for physical activity for parents/adults, recommend that over a week, activity should add up to at least 150 minutes (2½ hours) of moderate intensity activity. This should be completed in bouts of 10 minutes or more, or to do 30 minutes on at least 5 days a week.

Definitions

The benchmarks used by the Research Work Group for this indicator were: (1) Percentage of parents who meet the Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, and (2) Percentage of family members (e.g., parents, guardians) who are physically active with their kids.

Survey Data

One nationally representative data source was used by the Research Work Group to assign a family and peer grade.

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    National Survey for Wales (2016/17) The National Survey for Wales collected data on over 10,000 randomly-selected people aged 16 and over across Wales. The 2016/17 survey found that 59% of parents were moderately active for 150 minutes per week and 8% of parents took part in vigorous activity for more than 75 minutes per week. Further, it was revealed that 31% of parents took their child to the playground and 20% of parents took part in informal games with their child such as playing Frisbee.

    The National Survey for Wales is representative across all regions in Wales. Given that the data from Family and Peers was derived from only one data source, this may be viewed as a limitation. Likely biases in the results include an over-emphasis on parental involvement as there was a lack of representative data on peers.

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Deciding on a Grade

The Research Working Group assigned a D to this category. After taking percentages of all questions related to family and peers’ involvement into account, the proportion of active children was 30%.

Though there was little change in the participation in parents’ sport and physical activity, the Family and Peers grade has decreased from D+ to D since the last AHK- Wales report card completed in 2016. Possible explanations for this may be because of the differences in data sources used to generate the grade in 2016 compared to 2018. Further, in 2016, the +/– attributed to each grade denoted strengths/inequalities in the data. This no longer applied in the 2018 as the scoring system changed.

Considerations
  • Parents are encouraged to participate in sport, dance and physical activity. Parents should try to reduce their own and their child/children’s sitting time (sedentary time), especially time spent in front of screens.
  • Parents are encouraged to regularly plan for, and engage in physical activity or sports with their children, particularly in the evenings, weekends and holidays. Parents should encourage active transport and allow their children to explore physically active challenges within their environment.
  • Given that the data source is self-reported, there are no large-scale studies in which physical activity has been measured objectively in adults (parents).
  • Since physical inactivity is a problem for children and young people of all ages in Wales (see Overall Physical Activity Levels indicator), interventions could encourage families to be more physically active and reduce sedentary time together.
  • Future research needs to focus on the influence of parents on various amounts and types of physical activity and how these change with age.
  • The data sourced from the National Survey for Wales solely focused on parental physical activity. There was no available data on peers’ influence for the 2018 report card.
  • A significant effort needs to be made to address the lack of data available on peers’ influence.
How to Improve
Data Sources
  • National Survey for Wales(2016/17) - link
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