Parental and child perceptions of environment on physical activity and BMI. Longitudinal dyadic study

  • K. Horodyska
  • M. Boberska
  • M. Kruk
  • A. Luszczynska


Background: This study aims at investigating longitudinal associations between (1) parental perceptions of physical activity (PA) promotion in a local community, (2) parental and child perceptions of parental practical support referring to transporting a child to PA facilities, (3) parental and child physical activity, and (4) parental and child body mass index. Methods: At Time 1, 879 dyads participated in the study. At 7-8 months follow-up (Time 2), data from 603 full parent-child dyads were collected. Children (aged 5-11) and parents provided their self-report data. Body weight and height were measured with certified body weight scales at Time 1 and Time 2. Findings: Path analyses indicated that parental perceptions of PA promotion strategies (T1) explained moderate-to-vigorous child physical activity (T2). Analyses indicated also that parental but not child perceptions of transportation support (T1) had an indirect effect on child’s body mass index (T2). All associations were found after controlling for child body mass index, child age and gender (T1). Effects of child perceptions were not significant. Conclusions: Parental evaluations of transporting child to PA facilities and parental perceptions of PA promotion in local community may explain changes in child body mass index. Interventions should focus on parental awareness of PA promotion in a local community and parental transportation support.