2017, Volume 9, Issue 3
The role of physical activity in instilling healthy lifestyle habits in children
Małgorzata Kostecka1, Monika Bojanowska1, Monika Stoma2
1Faculty of Food Science and Biotechnology, University of Life Sciences in Lublin
2Faculty of Production Engineering, University of Life Sciences in Lublin
Author for correspondence: Małgorzata Kostecka; Faculty of Food Science and Biotechnology, University of Life Sciences in Lublin; email: julka-portal[at]wp.pl
Background: Habitual physical activity adapted to a child’s individual needs, ability, health, gender and age has positive implications for cognitive and physical growth and maturation. Childhood physical activity is a predictor of better health and general well-being in adulthood.
Material/Methods: A questionnaire study was conducted on a population of 371 randomly selected primary school students in Lublin county. Correlations were determined between the student’s levels of physical activity and leisure time activities vs. age, gender, BMI score and the parents’ levels of physical activity.
Results: The students’ attitudes towards PE differentiated subjects as to gender and the BMI score, whereas the frequency of exercise was correlated only with gender. Girls accounted for 72% of the students who did not enjoy PE classes. The duration of exercise was significantly correlated with age. Research results indicate that parents who are physically active instill healthy habits in their children.
Conclusions; Physical activity plays a very important role in instilling healthy lifestyle habits. Parents or caretakers are the best role models for children. In an era when children and adolescents are increasingly likely to spend most of their free time playing computer games or watching television, parents should encourage their children to participate in extracurricular physical activities that promote healthy growth and development.
Key words: health promotion, physical education, obesity