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The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12889-015-2328-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
GtH and ES conceived of, designed and coordinated the study, contributed to the acquisition, performed the statistical analyses, and drafted the manuscript. GK participated in the design, analysis of the data, and revision of the manuscript. SK participated in the design of the study and revision of the manuscript. GP and AS participated in the revision of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Although strength exercises evidently have both physiological and psychological health benefits across all ages, they are erroneously considered to adversely affect health status in youngsters. The aim of this study was to examine parental attitudes towards their child’s physical activity in general, as well as aerobic and strength exercises in particular.
In total, 314 parents from an online panel representative of the Dutch population completed an online survey about their own physical activity and that of their child (12–15 years old). The study also explored reasons for non-participation, and attitudes about the parents’ own and their child’s physical activity level.
Parents consistently reported a positive attitude towards aerobic exercises, but a less positive attitude regarding strength exercises. Parents were more likely to indicate that their child was not allowed to participate in strength exercises (29.6 %) than aerobic exercises (4.0 %). They thought that strength exercises could interfere with optimal physical development.
This study consistently shows that parents have a positive attitude towards aerobic exercises, but a less positive attitude regarding strength exercises. We suggest testing interventions to increase parental understanding of the advantages of and possibilities for (e.g., facilities) strength training on their child’s health.