CORVALLIS, Ore. Researchers at Oregon State University have confirmed what we knew all along children in this country are increasingly sedentary, spending too much time sitting and looking at electronic screens.
But it's not necessarily because of the newest gee-whiz gadgets parents play a major factor in whether young children are on the move.
In two studies out online today in a special issue of the journal Early Child Development and Care devoted to "Parental Influences of Childhood Obesity," OSU researchers examined how parenting style whether a strict but loving parent or a less-involved and more permissive parent was associated with sedentary behavior.
Overall, they found that children who had "neglectful" parents, or ones who weren't home often and self-reported spending less time with their kids, were getting 30 minutes more screen time on an average each week day.
More disturbing to lead author David Schary all of the children ages 2 to 4 were sitting more than several hours per day.
"Across all parenting styles, we saw anywhere from four to five hours a day of sedentary activity," he said. "This is waking hours not including naps or feeding. Some parents counted quiet play sitting and coloring, working on a puzzle, etc. as a positive activity, but this is an age where movement is essential."
Schary, a doctoral student in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU, said parents were grouped into four commonly used scientific categories authoritarian (high warmth and control), authoritative (controlling, less warm), permissive (warm, low control), and neglectful (low control and warmth).
While all the children in the sample of about 200 families were sitting four to five hours in a typical day, parents in the more neglectful category had children who were spending up to 30 additional minutes a day watching television, playing a video game or being engaged in some
|Contact: David Schary|
Oregon State University