Family and Peer Influences
There are currently no specific recommendations regarding the influence of family and peers on the meeting of recommended physical activity guidelines. However, research across varying age groups and geographic settings has shown that encouragement by and/or participation of family and peers in activity can increase children’s own levels of physical activity and subsequently their overall health.
- % of family members who facilitate physical activity and sport opportunities for their children (based on % volunteering in sport during the past 12 months)
- % of parents who meet the Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health (at least 150 min of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or least 75 min of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity weekly)
- % of children and youth with friends and peers who encourage and support them to be physically active (based on response to question, “What are adults like when you play?”)
- The Play Satisfaction Survey (2018/2019), children aged 4–18 years (n= 5,111)
- The School Health Research Network’s Student Health and Wellbeing survey (2019/2020), children aged 11-16 years (n=115,944)
- Sport Wales, School Sport Survey (2018), children aged 7-16 years (n=118,893)
Deciding on a grade
The Play Satisfaction Survey showed that children reported 46% of adults were “great and happy with children playing out,” with another 43% indicating adults are “ok and alright about children playing out.” The National Survey for Wales (2018/19) showed that 10% of adults had volunteered in sport in the past 12 months, whilst 53% of adults met the MVPA guidelines of 150 minutes of physical activity per week.
Based on the findings described above, the Research Working Group assigned a D+ to this indicator. This reflects the averaging of (10% + 53% + 46%)/3 = 36% = Grade D+. This grade has increased slightly from the 2018 AHK-Wales Report Card grade of a D. It is, however, important to note that different questions and surveys were used for the grading of the 2021 Family and Peers indicator compared to the 2014 and 2016 Report Cards, which included response to a question concerning the probability of children being ‘hooked on sport’ (percentage of children who take part in sport on 3 or more occasions a week, in an extracurricular (school‐based) or a community/club setting if their parents or peers/friends are also involved in sport. This question has since been removed from the survey in which it formerly appeared. Therefore, the changes in grades across Report Cards should be viewed with caution.
The is no data available to assess two of the five suggested benchmarks (% of family members (e.g., parents, guardians) who are physically active with their kids, and % of children and youth who encourage and support their friends and peers to be physically active). Data used to assess two of the remaining three benchmarks are tangential to these rather than directly aligning with the guidelines proposed. More and better data are needed to assess this area.
How to improve
Research has shown that encouragement by and/or participation of family and peers in activity can increase children’s own levels of physical activity and subsequently their overall health. Parents are therefore urged to engage in physical activity or sports with their children on a regular basis, especially in the evenings and on weekends and holidays. Parents should support the use of active transport options where it is safe and feasible. They should also encourage their children to explore physically active challenges within their local/home environment, and to participate in clubs/groups that involve physical activity.