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OP67 Activity levels in mothers and children during the transition to primary school: findings from the southampton women’s survey
  1. KR Hesketh1,
  2. S Brage1,
  3. U Ekelund1,2,
  4. C Cooper3,4,5,
  5. K Godfrey3,4,
  6. NC Harvey3,4,
  7. H Inskip3,4,
  8. S Robinson3,4,
  9. EM van Sluijs1
  1. 1CEDAR and MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  2. 2Department of Sport Medicine, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway
  3. 3MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit , University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
  4. 4NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University of Southampton and, University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation, Southampton, UK
  5. 5NIHR Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Centre, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK


Background Parental physical activity (PA) is frequently investigated as a potential correlate of preschool-aged children’s PA, yet there is little information about how the association between parent-child PA changes during the transition to formal schooling. We aimed to determine the association between objectively measured maternal and 6-year-old children’s PA, exploring how this association differs by demographic and temporal factors; and 2) identify how this association changes during the transition to school (from 4–6 years).

Methods Data were from the UK Southampton Women’s Survey. PA levels of 530 6-year-olds and their mothers were measured concurrently using accelerometry for up to 7 days. Two-level mixed-effects linear regression was used to model the association between maternal-child PA at age 6 [average activity intensity (ACC); minutes spent sedentary (SED); and in moderate and vigorous PA (MVPA)]. Interactions with demographic and temporal factors, and how the association differed across the day (morning (6–9am); school (9am-3pm) and evening (3–11pm)), were tested. Change in the association between maternal-child PA (at age 4 and 6, n=170) was also assessed.

Results At age 6, mother-child daily PA were positively associated at all activity intensities: ACC: β=0.24 [95% CI: 0.19, 0.30] counts per minute; SED: 0.23 [0.20, 0.26] minutes/hour; MVPA: 0.53 [0.43,0.64] minutes/hour. The association was stronger between mother-child PA at all intensities at the weekend (vs. weekdays: ACC: βinteraction=0.16 [95% CI: 0.06, 0.25] counts per minute; SED: 0.07 [0.02,0.12] minutes; MVPA: 0.44 [0.24,0.64] minutes). For SED, the mother-child association was stronger for children with older siblings (vs. none); for MVPA, the relationship was stronger for those who had both younger and older siblings (vs. none). Longitudinally, the mother-child association did not differ with age for SED and light PA (LPA); mother-child ACC and MVPA were significantly weaker at age 6 compared with age 4 (difference in ACC: −0.23 [-0.37,–0.10], MVPA: −0.16 [-0.31,–0.00]). This difference was driven by a weaker relationship in the mornings and during the school day (9–3pm).

Discussion Maternal-child PA levels are positively associated at age 6, with stronger associations at weekends, and in those with siblings in the home. From age 4 to 6 years, the mother-child ACC and MVPA association weakened. This may reflect decreasing co-participation with age, as children gain independence/engage in more structured PA at school. Different intervention foci may be needed before and after the transition to school, but family-based PA remains an important element of children’s overall PA.

  • Physical Activity Family

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