AbstractPurpose: Examine the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between parental support and children's physical activity outside of child care, and whether children's age or sex moderated the associations. Method: Results are based on 93 children aged 19-60 months at baseline from eight child care centers across Alberta, Canada. Parental support (i.e., transportation, co-activity, watching, encouragement, and informing) and children's physical activity outside of child care were measured with a parental questionnaire at baseline (October/November, 2013) and follow-up (May/June, 2014). Linear mixed-models that accounted for children being nested in child care centers and that adjusted for children's sex, children's age, parental education, parental immigration status, temperature, and precipitation were conducted. Results: Every additional unit increase in parental support was significantly associated with 48.5 minutes/week (95% Confidence Interval (CI): 29.3, 67.6) and 52.2 (95% CI: 32.0, 72.3) minutes/week higher parental reported children's physical activity outside of child care at baseline and follow-up, respectively. Children's age was found to be a moderator at baseline only, with associations slightly stronger is toddlers (ÃŸ = 60.4; 95% CI: 32.2, 88.6) compared to preschoolers (ÃŸ = 45.9; 95% CI: 18.5, 73.4). A 1-unit increase in parental support from baseline to follow-up was significantly associated with a 24.8 (95% CI: 2.8, 46.8) minutes/week increase in parental reported children's physical activity outside of child care. Conclusion: Parental support was positively associated with children's physical activity across all analyses. Parental support may be an important correlate to target in future interventions aiming to promote physical activity in the early years.
Acknowledgments: This research was funded by the Alberta Centre for Child, Family, and Community Research (ACCFCR).