Moms who want to encourage their daughters to be active should practice what they preach, a small new study shows.
The study of 40 girls ages 5 to 12 found that those with more active mothers were more physically active themselves. And the more time a mom spent being sedentary, the longer her daughter spent in front of a screen.
“Mothers are the first potentially powerful female role model for their daughters, and their daughters’ beliefs and behaviors may stem directly from those of their mothers,” said study co-author Alyce Barnes, an education researcher at the University of Newcastle in Australia.
“Importantly, our study has shown that mothers have an important influence on their daughter’s physical activity in relation to their parenting for physical activity and behaviors,” Barnes said. Future research should look at how efforts aimed at helping mothers to increase their physical activity levels may affect their daughters.
The findings were published online June 20 in Maternal and Child Health Journal.