Boys from low income families move less

Parents’ income and educational level are associated with their children’s physical activity and screen time, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. Lower income and educational levels were associated with less supervised physical activity in particular. In boys, these were also associated with more screen time.

The study analysed various components of children’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour, and their associations with parents’ income and educational level. The study included 238 girls and 248 boys, all of them 6-8 years old, whose physical activity and sedentary time were studied by using detailed questionnaires. Confounding factors ranging from age and gender to the time of year of filling out the questionnaire were controlled for in the analyses. The findings were published in the European Journal of Sport Science, and they constitute part of the Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children (PANIC) Study carried out in the University of Eastern Finland.

Low socio-economic family background reduces physical activity especially in boys

Parents’ low income and low educational level were associated with lower amounts of supervised physical activity in particular. Children from families with the lowest income and educational levels were two times less likely to participate in supervised physical activity than other children. In boys, parents’ low educational level was also associated with lower amounts of overall physical activity. Furthermore, boys from families with the lowest income or educational levels spent had nearly five hours more of weekly screen time than other boys.

“These significant differences in children’s amount of physical activity, caused by their different socio-economic backgrounds, are a cause of concern especially among boys. Tools for increasing the amount of physical activity and reducing screen time should be made available to children coming from families with the lowest socio-economic backgrounds in particular,” says Eeva Lampinen , MSc (Sport and Health Sciences), from the University of Eastern Finland.

Half of children get recommended amounts of physical activity and screen time

The study found that the average daily amount of physical activity was 1.7 hours for girls and two hours for boys. Nearly half of the overall physical activity was unsupervised in nature. In Finland, the recommended daily amount of physical activity for school children is two hours. The study found that 44 per cent of girls and 56 per cent of boys got the recommended amount of daily physical activity. However, nearly half of the children had more than the recommended two hours of screen time, especially on weekends.

“A delightfully positive thing about our findings is the fact that the majority of children’s daily physical activity was unsupervised. This shows that it is not necessary to engage in supervised sports to get the recommended amount of exercise,” Lampinen concludes.

For further information, please contact

Eeva-Kaarina Lampinen, MSc (Sport and Health Sciences), University of Eastern Finland, tel. +358 20 798 4281, eeva.lampinen@santasport.fi  

Research article:

Lampinen EK, Eloranta AM, Haapala EA, Lindi V, Väistö J, Lintu N, Karjalainen P, Kukkonen-Harjula K, Laaksonen D, Lakka TA. Physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sosioeconomic status among Finnish girls and boys aged 6–8 years, European Journal of Sport science 2017;17:462–472. DOI: 10.1080/17461391.2017.1294619

http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/9sayHE4j6ZNzbQ98HAVv/full

Tags:

About Us

The University of Eastern Finland, UEF, is one of the largest universities in Finland. The activities of the UEF underscore multidisciplinarity, and the university is especially strong in research related to forests and the environment, health and well-being, and new technologies and materials. The UEF offers teaching in more than 100 major subjects. In addition to the high standard of teaching, the university offers its students a modern study environment, which is under constant development. The university comprises four faculties: the Philosophical Faculty, the Faculty of Science and Forestry, the Faculty of Health Sciences, and the Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies. The university’s campuses are located in the heart of beautiful eastern Finland in Joensuu, Kuopio and Savonlinna. The UEF is home to approximately 15 000 students and nearly 2 800 members of staff.

Contacts

  • University of Eastern Finland
    Joensuu / Kuopio / Savonlinna
    http://www.uef.fi/en
  • Joensuu Campus
    Yliopistokatu 2 P.O. Box 111 FI-80101 Joensuu
  • Kuopio Campus
    Yliopistonranta 1 P.O. Box 1627 FI-70211 Kuopio
  • Savonlinna Campus
    Kuninkaankartanonkatu 5 P.O. Box 86 FI-57101 Savonlinna

Subscribe