Tia Klein

Date of Award

January 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Kinesiology & Public Health Education

First Advisor

Tanis Walch


There has been a rise of obesity in children, adolescents, and adults over the past decades. This rise in obesity has led to many health concerns such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, some cancers and depression. Physical activity [PA] has been shown to decrease these risks and aid in positive growth and development for children and adolescents. The primary aim of this study was to examine the relationship between parental and child PA in a controlled lab experiment. The secondary aim was to examine parental practices (physical and social home environment) and their influences on children’s PA in a controlled lab setting. Participants of this study completed a survey (n=27 parent/child dyads, parent age = 39.8±5.7 years, child age in months = 122.9±16.7, parent BMI = 29.9±5.3, child BMI percent= 68.5±23.42.9) examining PA and sedentary behaviors daily, along with home environmental practices. Participants were recruited through email, flyers, and newsletters and these participants partook in the experiment on two different days. Day one, participants signed a consent form and completed their survey and had height and weight taken for BMI. Day two consisted of the one-hour lab experiment. The controlled lab setting provided age appropriate PA/SB activities for the child/parent lab and when complete, the dyads were compensated for volunteering to our study. Data was analyzed by Pearson correlations and t-tests in SPSS v26. Results showed there was not a significant association between physical activity and obesity (p>0.05). However, overweight/obese children did have a parent with a higher BMI compared to normal weight children (28.6 vs. 32.5; p=0.046). Children who participated in higher PA in the lab also had higher amounts of screen time reported (226.6 vs. 131.3; p=0.024). This study suggests that parental practices and weight status can influence children’s PA and SB. Future research should examine whether parents and children participating in PA together to reduce obesity is a potential strategy to improve both child and parent health and quality of life.