Parental role-modeling on 24-hour movement behaviors among preschoolers during the COVID-19 pandemic

Jie Feng, Asaduzzaman Khan, Patrick Wing Chung Lau, Wendy Yajun Huang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Introduction: Little is known about the association between parents' and children's 24-h movement behaviors during the pandemic. This cross-sectional study examined the association between the 24-h movement behaviors of parents and their preschoolers and investigated sex differences in this association.

Methods: A total of 1740 preschoolers (4.5 ± 0.8 years old, 50.3% boys) and their parents (35.4 ± 4.9 years old, 24.3% males) in China participated in this study and provided valid and complete data. Parents completed an online survey or a written questionnaire in the period between October and December 2020. Preschoolers' and parents' movement behaviors (physical activity [PA], sedentary behavior [SB], screen time, and sleep) and demographic information were reported by the parents. Generalized linear models and logistic regression models were performed.

Results: Positive associations were found between parents' and preschoolers' moderate-to-vigorous intensity PA (β = 0.28; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.20, 0.36), total PA (β = 0.21; 95% CI: 0.17, 0.24), and sleep (β = 0.05; 95% CI: 0.03, 0.06) with no apparent sex difference. No significant association was found between parents' and preschoolers' SB or screen time. Girls were more likely to meet all three 24-h movement guidelines when their parents met them (odds ratio = 2.38; 95% CI: 1.42, 4.01), but the relationship was not significant for boys.

Conclusions: Parental role-modeling was positively associated with children's PA and sleep. This finding suggests that supporting parents' movement behaviors has the potential to promote a healthy lifestyle among preschoolers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14563
Number of pages9
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
Issue number1
Early online date16 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

User-Defined Keywords

  • child
  • parenting
  • physical activity
  • sedentary behavior
  • sleep


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