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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Gender differences in familial aggregation of objectively measured physical activity)

item Fuemmeler, Bernard
item Anderson, Cheryl
item Masse, Louise

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/20/2006
Publication Date: 5/20/2006
Citation: Fuemmeler, B., Anderson, C.B., and Masse, L.C. 2006. Gender differences in familial aggregation of objectively measured physical activity [abstract]. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 38(Suppl 5):S23.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: A number of health-risk factors have been shown to cluster within families. However, there have been few studies that have assessed the degree of correlation between parent and child physical activity levels. It is also unclear if gender of parent or child influences this relationship. PURPOSE: To determine the degree of correlation between parent's and their children's level of physical activity and to examine the influence that gender has on this relationship. METHODS: Forty-five children in 4th and 5th grades (23 boys and 22 girls; 71% Caucasian) and their parents concurrently wore the MIT (Manufacturing Technology Inc.) model 7164 accelerometer for four consecutive days (Thursday - Sunday). Accelerometer time spent in moderate (MPA), vigorous (VPA), and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) were based on Trost et al. age adjusted MTI cut-point limits for the children and employed Freedson et al. cut-point for adults. Pearson r correlations were examined between fathers and son, mothers and daughter, fathers and daughter, and mothers and son. RESULTS: MTI estimates of mean min/day of MVPA were 31.9 (± 20.7) for mothers and 31.7 (± 18.8) for fathers. MTI estimates of mean min/day of total MVPA were 134.7 (± 59.5) for female children and 157.8 (± 52.5) for male children. Significant relationships were observed between father and son objectively measured MPA (r = .45) and MVPA (r = .44), mother and daughter MPA (r = .61) and MVPA (r = .69), and father and daughter MPA (r = .49) and MVPA (r = .44). There were no significant relationships observed between mothers' and sons' physical activity levels measured either objectively or by self-report. No significant relationships were found between parents and children for VPA levels. CONCLUSIONS: Father's physical activity seems to have a greater impact on child behavior regardless of gender whereas mother impact was only observed among girls. Future research is needed that can further validate these findings and elucidate potential mechanisms (e.g., behavioral modeling, social support, etc.) regulating these relationships.

Last Modified: 05/23/2017
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