Differences in physical activity patterns among women and men with and without children

Document type: Conference Presentations
Peer reviewed: Yes
Author(s): Katarina Sjögren Forss, Louise Stjernberg
Title: Differences in physical activity patterns among women and men with and without children
Series: European Journal of Public Health
Conference name: European Public Health Association Malta 8-10 november 2012
Year: 2012
Volume: 22
Issue: Supl 22
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: School of Health Science (Sektionen för hälsa)
School of Health Science S-371 79 Karlskrona
+46 455 38 50 00
http://www.bth.se/hal/
Authors e-mail: katarina.sjogren.forss@bth.se
Language: English
Abstract: Background
Due to health effects from participating in physical activity
(PA) it is from a public health perspective important to study
how participation PA may change over a lifetime and how
different life events impact on the participation. Although
studies in the field are sparse, parenthood has been found to be a life event associated with decreased PA, especially among women. We studied physical activities performed among women and men with and without children.
Methods
This study includes data for from parents-to-be, 224 women
and 208 men, from Karlskrona municipality, situated in the
south eastern part of Sweden. Data collection was carried out
during 2008–2009. When contacting the antenatal clinics in
the municipality all expectant parents were asked by the
midwife about participation in the study. Respondents
completed a questionnaire about age, socioeconomic status,
level of education, previous children, smoking and alcohol
habits, Body Mass Index, self estimated health, and participation in different kinds of outdoor and indoor recreational PA. We measured the self-reported amount of outdoor recreational PA undertaken during the last year.
Results
Both women and men without children performed more
outdoor and indoor PA compared to those who had children.
Women walked significantly more (p = 0.017) than men
irrespective of whether or not they had children. Women
with children participated in significantly more gardening
(p = 0.009) and winter sports (p = 0.013) than women without
children, and women without children participated in
significantly more PA indoors (p = 0.001) than women with
children. Men with children participated in significantly more
gardening (p = 0.001) than men without children, and men
without children participated in significantly more PA indoors
(p = 0.006).
Conclusions
Becoming a parent is a life event that affects participation in
PA, both concerning duration and the kind of activities
performed. To gain deeper understanding and more insight
about reasons for these changed patterns of PA as well as the
effects on the outcome of the parents health in a short- and
long term would be important to follow prospectively.
Subject: Public Health\General
Keywords: Physical activity, Parenthood
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