Physical Activity in Kids

How parenting styles affect children.

Correlation between parenting styles and physical activity.

There are many research experiments that have been conducted evaluating the 4 different parenting styles, authoritative, authoritarian, permissive and neglectful and the correlation between the amount of physical activity in children.

Experiment involving first graders.

  • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development conducted a research experiment evaluating the four parenting styles by measuring the children's height and weight at 4 1/2 years old and again at 6 years of age.
  • Maternal sensitivity and maternal expectations for child-self control.
  • BMI >95th percentile.
  • The conclusion after evaluating 872 children is that kids are more likely to be less physically fit/overweight if they have authoritarian parents. Also children of permissive and neglectful parents are more than twice as likely to be overweight compared to the children of authoritative parents.

Why kids become overweight.

  • Kids fail to learn to regulate negative emotions.
  • Look to food for comfort,
  • Lack support to get physical activity.
  • Get rewarded with food.

Causes of obesity.

Laura E. Berk states in her book "Development through the Lifespan" that "Parental feeding practices also play a role(in obesity). Some parents anxiously overfeed, interpreting almost all their child's discomforts as a desire for food. Others are overly controlling, restricting when, what, and how much their child eats and constantly worrying about weight gain. Both types of parents fail to help children learn to regulate their own energy in-take."

Ways to prevent obesity.

  • Know child's appetite.
  • Healthy lifestyle.
  • Organized sports
  • Teach kids at an early age.
  • Encouragment


  • Ray, John J. "Parenting Styles and Overweight Status in First Grade." Parenting Styles and Overweight Status in First Grade. American Academy of Pediatrics, June-July 2006. Web. 02 Apr. 2014.
  • Laura E. Berk. "Development through the Lifespan." Allyn & Bacon. 2010.
  • "How Parenting Styles Can Lead to Childhood Obesity." CTVNews. N.p., n.d. Web. 03.Apr. 2014.