Parents love sports? Kids might love playing them.

By Michelle Anderson • Published: October 23rd, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Keeping children active can be a full-time job.

But if parents value vigorous team sports, it can be a heck of a lot easier to keep kids moving and off the couch.

Researchers studied parents and children in the fourth and fifth grades in Houston, Texas.

The study looked at parents’ beliefs about sports and strenuous physical activity, and how they influence both children’s activity and sedentary behavior.

It didn’t matter if parents themselves actually played sports of any kind; only that they valued physical activity and had a positive attitude about it.

The study focused on parents’ feelings about, and children’s participation in, team sports, individual sports and household chores. Researchers also evaluated the time kids spent on the computer or watching T-V.

The researchers found that parents who value vigorous-intensity team sports had the most active children, in terms of participating on sports teams or overall physical activity.

But they found that only team sports participation… not just physical activity in general… was related to reduced T-V-watching and computer doodling.

They also found some gender bias.

Parents were more likely to encourage sons than daughters to participate in the most strenuous team sports or physically grueling household chores, such as heavy yard work.

Other findings included that bigger families tend to value household chores more, while better-educated families value them less.

So what’s the secret to keeping your kids active, even if you’re not? The next time your child runs herself ragged while playing, don’t give her a lecture.

Give her a high five.