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Parent recommendations to support physical activity for families with young children: Results of interviews in deprived and affluent communities in South Wales (United Kingdom)

Khanom, Ashrafunnesa, Evans, Bridie Angela, Lynch, Rebecca, Marchant, Emily, Hill, Rebecca, Morgan, Kelly ORCID:, Rapport, Francis, Lyons, Ronan and Brophy, Sinead 2020. Parent recommendations to support physical activity for families with young children: Results of interviews in deprived and affluent communities in South Wales (United Kingdom). Health Expectations 23 (2) , pp. 284-295. 10.1111/hex.13020

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Background: Physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause of mortality worldwide. Early childhood is a critical period when healthy behaviours can be instilled for a future active lifestyle. We explored community, societal and environmental factors affecting child and family physical activity and sought parent recommendations to support physical activity in families with young children. Methods: We interviewed 61 parents expecting a child or with a baby ≤12 months (35 mother and father paired interviews and 26 interviews with mothers only). We purposively sampled families for neighbourhood deprivation status (Townsend Index; 26 affluent; 35 deprived). We conducted thematic analysis of interview transcripts using Bronfenbrenner's socio-ecological framework to guide interpretation. Results: We identified four themes: work family-life balance; spaces for activity; beliefs and attitudes; and physical activity facilitators. We found that parents from deprived neighbourhoods were more likely to be underactive because of a complex web of community, social and personal factors which reduced motivation and hindered opportunity for physical activity. To increase knowledge and opportunity, respondents suggested ‘help not tell’ messages covering ‘why’, ‘how’ and ‘where’ information about physical activity, and using physical activity to support community engagement and social interaction. Conclusions: Recommendations from parents highlight effective communication about the importance of early child and family physical activity and improved community access to safe facilities and opportunities. Both parents need to be engaged in designing interventions to support greater physical activity and healthy behaviours which are relevant and achievable in individuals’ lives.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: Wiley Open Access
ISSN: 1369-6513
Funders: NISCHR and DECIPHer, a UKCRC Public Health Research Centre of Excellence. Joint funding (MR/KO23233/1) from the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Economic and Social Research Council, Medical Research Council, the Welsh Government and the Well
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 22 January 2020
Date of Acceptance: 12 December 2019
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 08:37

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