Introduction: Physical activity has positive health benefits across the lifespan including reduced rates of chronic disease. Despite having ample availability of outdoor space for physical activity in the Appalachian Mountain region, there are low rates of physical activity along with high rates of sedentary time and increased prevalence of overweight individuals across all age groups. Therefore, there is a need to understand the factors that influence family’s physical activity and sedentary time.

Purpose: To assess whether parental attitudes and behaviors influence children’s physical activity and sedentary time.

Methods: The current study was a secondary analysis of the baseline data from a pilot study of a pediatrician prescription program for outdoor physical activity. Parents (N = 70) with children aged 5–13 years living in a county served by a single-pediatrician office completed surveys in the pediatrician’s office during a well-child visit. The survey included questions related to parental attitudes toward children’s physical activity and the physical activity and sedentary time performed by the parent and their child.

Results: Parent sedentary time was the only factor that had an impact on child sedentary time, with 18% of the variance in children’s sedentary time being explained by parent sedentary time. No factors predicted children’s physical activity.

Implications: To decrease child sedentary time, interventions should focus on reducing parental and joint parent–child sedentary time.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Recommended Citation

Recommended citation: Farrell AV, Christiana RW, Battista RA, James JJ. Parental Impact on Child Physical Activity and Sedentary Time in Appalachian North Carolina. J Appalach Health 2020;2(3):26–40. DOI: https://doi.org/10.13023/jah.0203.05