HALO Director Dr. Mark Tremblay is an author on a paper, “Examining the Potential Disconnect Between Parents’ Perceptions and Reality Regarding the Physical Activity Levels of Their Children,” that was recently published in the Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk. Citation details and a summary of the paper are below.
Faulkner, Guy; Solomon, Vaeda; Berry, Tanya; Deshpande, Sameer; Latimer-Cheung, Amy E.; Rhodes, Ryan; Spence, John; and Tremblay, Mark S. (2014) “Examining the Potential Disconnect Between Parents’ Perceptions and Reality Regarding the Physical Activity Levels of Their Children,” Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk: Vol. 5: Iss. 1, Article 9.
ABSTRACT: Background: Parental support plays an important role in facilitating the participation of children in physical activity. However, there is evidence that parents overestimate their child’s level of physical activity – this may lead to inaction in promotion attempts by parents. This potential disconnect between parental perceptions and reality was recently the focus of the ‘Think Again’ social marketing campaign developed by PartipACTION. Purpose: To qualitatively explore parents’ perceptions of the Think Again advertisements, and the possible disconnect between perceptions and reality regarding their children’s physical activity levels. Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 mothers and 12 fathers of children aged 5-11 years attending a supervised recreation class. A thematic analysis was applied to the collected data. Results: The advertisements were generally well received by the parents in serving as a reminder of how much physical activity their children should be getting. Less than half of parents believed their children were attaining physical activity guidelines although the majority believed they were sufficiently active given perceived time constraints for both them and their child. Most parents believed they could accurately estimate how active their child was but that other parents may have difficulty due to reliance on schools and organized recreation to provide opportunities for physical activity. Conclusion: PSAs have a role to play in increasing parental awareness of physical activity guidelines and communicating the importance of physical activity. More creative approaches will be needed to address the disconnect in the perceptions between sufficient and recommended levels of physical activity.
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