Although current intervention efforts to promote activity are predominantly focussed on the school setting, the home and family context remains key for overall activity behaviours of children of all ages. Previous evidence demonstrates that adolescents would like to engage in more physical activity with their family members (Corder et al), that physical activity of 7-yr olds is most variable outside of school (Atkin et al), and that there’s a direct association between mothers’ and their preschoolers’ activity levels (Hesketh et al). In addition, over the transition to secondary school, the greatest change in activity levels is seen outside of school.
Despite this evidence, there is a lack of understanding of activity behaviour in the context of families, and the potential reciprocal influences of family members on each other’s behaviour. The aim of this PhD project is to increase our understanding of the family and home context for children’s and other family members’ activity behaviours, the socio-ecological influences on these behaviours, and how this knowledge may be used in intervention design. The specific focus of work will be decided upon in consultation with the successful student, but is likely to involve quantitative analyses of existing data, an evidence review, and potentially new data collection.