What helps children to be more active and less sedentary? Perceptions of mothers living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods
Article first published online: 1 NOV 2011
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Child: Care, Health and Development
Volume 39, Issue 1, pages 94–102, January 2013
How to Cite
Veitch, J., Hume, C., Salmon, J., Crawford, D. and Ball, K. (2013), What helps children to be more active and less sedentary? Perceptions of mothers living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Child: Care, Health and Development, 39: 94–102. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2214.2011.01321.x
- Issue published online: 12 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 1 NOV 2011
- Accepted for publication 12 August 2011
- disadvantaged neighbourhoods;
- physical activity;
- qualitative interviews;
- sedentary behaviour
Background Increasing children's participation in physical activity and decreasing time spent in sedentary behaviours is of great importance to public health. Despite living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, some children manage to engage in health-promoting physical activity and avoid high levels of screen-based activities (i.e. watching TV, computer use and playing electronic games). Understanding how these children manage to do well and whether there are unique features of their home or neighbourhood that explain their success is important for informing strategies targeting less active and more sedentary children. The aim of this qualitative study was to gain in-depth insights from mothers regarding their child's resilience to low physical activity and high screen-time.
Methods Semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted with 38 mothers of children who lived in disadvantaged neighbourhoods in urban and rural areas of Victoria, Australia. The interviews were designed to gain in-depth insights about perceived individual, social and physical environmental factors influencing resilience to low physical activity and high screen-time.
Results Themes relating to physical activity that emerged from the interviews included: parental encouragement, support and modelling; sports culture in a rural town; the physical home and neighbourhood environment; child's individual personality; and dog ownership. Themes relating to screen-time behaviours encompassed: parental control; and child's individual preferences.
Conclusions The results offer important insights into potential avenues for developing ‘resilience’ and increasing physical activity and reducing screen-time among children living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. In light of the negative effects of low physical activity and high levels of screen-time on children's health, this evidence is urgently needed.