The activity levels of mums may depend on the number and ages of children. For example, a mum with young children may be more active than a mum with older children. This is because young children require more care and attention than older children. Therefore, a mum with young children may need to spend more time playing with them, running after them and generally being more active. However, a mum with older children may have more time to herself as they do not require as much care and attention. This means she may have more time to relax and do less active activities.
A new study has suggested that a mother’s activity levels may be linked to the number and ages of her children.
The research, conducted by the University of Missouri, found that mothers of more than one child aged six or younger were less active than those who only had one child under six. In addition, mothers of children aged six or younger were found to be less active than mothers of teenagers.
“The findings of this study suggest that mothers’ activity levels are influenced by not only the number of young children they have, but also the ages of their children,” said study author Wendy Troxel. “This is important because maternal activity levels are associated with a number of health outcomes for both mothers and their children.”
Troxel and her team used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to examine the activity levels of nearly 4,500 mothers. The participants were asked to wear a device that measured their activity levels over a seven-day period.
The findings showed that, on average, mothers of one child aged six or younger engaged in 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day. In contrast, mothers of teenagers engaged in around 50 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day.
When the researchers took into account other factors that could influence a mother’s activity level, such as her age, education, and marital status, they found that the relationship between a mother’s activity level and the number and ages of her children remained significant.
“This study provides evidence that there are subgroups of mothers who are at risk for being inactive,” said Troxel. “Interventions that target these groups of mothers, such as those who have multiple young children, could help to increase maternal activity levels and improve the health of mothers and their children.”