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Measures for Parental Influence on Physical Activity Lacking

Non-validated instruments, lack of comprehensive measures make studies hard to compare

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Accepted measures to address the role of parental influence on child physical activity (PA) are lacking, with current studies characterized by variation in conceptualization and measurement of parenting, use of non-validated instruments, and lack of comprehensive measures, according to a review published online July 30 in Obesity Reviews.

Noting that the influence of parents on PA behavior of their children is hard to compare due to variation in instruments, Esther Sleddens, of the Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands, and associates conducted a literature review to identify existing PA parenting questionnaires. These measures were validated through findings of their psychometric performance and their correlation with youth's PA.

The researchers identified 11 unique PA questionnaires that were used in 46 studies. There was tremendous variation in the conceptualization and measurement of PA parenting noted in the studies. In addition, non-validated instruments were commonly used, and there was a lack of comprehensive measures observed.

"In conclusion, although several different PA parenting instruments are used worldwide, comprehensive and accepted measures appear to be lacking," the authors write. "Future research should validate existing instruments and may necessitate the development of PA parenting measures that are more comprehensive (multidimensional) and theory-based using thorough validation methods."

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