Moms’ healthy habits boost kids’ activity levels

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Here’s another reason to turn off the TV and get outside this summer: your screen time and exercise habits directly influence your kid’s activity levels.

In a new study from Australia, children’s playtime rose by 16 minutes for every hour a mother increased her activity level.1 For every hour moms added in screen time, children’s sedentary time rose by 8 minutes. Researchers observed that mother’s influence on children’s screen time and activity levels began appearing when the child was two years old.

An estimated 16-33% of children and adolescents are obese in the US.2 Recent research suggests that childhood obesity is fueling a spike in prediabetes and cardiovascular disease risks in teens. Promoting physical activity in parents and children alike could play a significant role in preventing childhood obesity.


  1. Xu H, Wen LM. Screen time and physical activity of young children reflects their mother’s behaviours: findings from the Healthy Beginnings Trial. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 2012; 36(4): DOI: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2012.00902.x.
  2. “Obesity in children and Teens.” American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. March 2001. No. 79.

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