Worth the read:
Our society's culture of fear is holding back children's fitness
Larouche is the lead author of one of the two new studies, which together make the case that fitness patterns established in childhood have lasting effects on adult health, and these patterns can be influenced by a wide variety of sometimes unexpected factors such as parental attitudes about traffic and morning temperatures. .
. The biggest and most easily modifiable factor affecting how much the children moved was the amount of time they spent outdoors.
"Studies comparing physical activity in indoor versus outdoor environments have consistently found that children are more active outdoors," Larouche says. "Other studies suggest that children may be more active if, as adults, we back off and let them play."
There were also some more subtle indicators that, in some cases, varied by gender. Boys were less active if their parents reported driving to work, were worried about traffic or were worried about other people in their neighbourhood. Girls were more active as the morning temperature warmed, adding 77 steps a day for each additional degree Celsius.
Active travel to school also played a role, but in general the children (who were between 8 and 12 years old) had low levels of independent mobility, as assessed by whether they were permitted to do six things on their own: travel to and from school, travel to other places within walking distance, cross main roads, go on local (non-school) buses and go out alone after dark. On average, the children in the study were permitted to do two of these things .