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Do active parents have more active kids?

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Photo: Sport Singapore

So is it true that active parents tend to raise more active kids? Growing up, I remember my father trying to cajole me to play badminton with him whenever we had time to spare. I still have fond and vivid memories of playing badminton with him at the court near my childhood home.

This similar influence spurred me to join the CCA (it was known as ECA back then) in my Primary School, from which I later got booted out because I did not know how to serve the shuttlecock (another story for another day). I trained hard and learnt how to serve eventually but I refused to try out for the CCA again (probably traumatised after getting booted out).

Subsequently, my sporting interest drifted to basketball and eventually football but the seed for the love of sports had already been planted. Nowadays, I play footie every Friday with my mates without fail unless the weather decides otherwise.

So the million-dollar question is: was I being active because of my dad or was it just a coincidence? The answer is probably yes if you ask me because there were tons of other stuff that I could have done with my time growing up. If I wasn’t playing badminton with him, I could have read a book or simply watch television and rot on the couch. Hence, the theory is actually pretty concrete if you use my childhood as a case study (thank you Dad).

activesg kidsPhoto: Sport Singapore

According to a research by Statistics Canada, children benefit when parents themselves increase their own daily physical activity. To put that into context, it simply means that I stand to gain if my dad plays more badminton on a daily basis.

But how does that work? A CBC report on the study explains that a “child’s level of physical activity rises by 5 to 10 minutes for every 20-minute increase in the physical activity of a parent.” Similarly, children walked an additional 200 to 350 steps for every 1,000 steps that a parent walked.

This sounds pretty legit if you think from the perspective of a parent who brings his kid along wherever he or she goes, i.e. my Dad heads out to play badminton so I tag along and end up playing badminton with him too.

Kids AthleticsPhoto: Sport Singapore

In the same study, a similar relationship was also found between a parent and child’s sedentary time. For every hour that the parent spends being inactive, there was an eight to 15 minute increase in the sedentary time of the child. Warning alert to parents who spend way too much time on their devices. There is a high chance this may lead to your child spending more time on devices as well.

But I digress. Our children look to us as role models constantly as they navigate this ever-changing world and if increasing my daily physical activity helps them to be more active and healthy growing up, you can bet your last dollar that I am going to do it!

Now, if I can just find that badminton racket that my Dad got me.


Gary Yang is a myActiveSG Editor and Presenter. Gary started his career as a suit cum copywriter at an advertising agency, followed by a successful stint in Corporate Communications with Singapore Press Holdings and Asia Pacific Breweries, before eventually joining the editorial team at Sport Singapore. He now turns his attention to fitness and wellness headlines and sniffing out news angles in the sporting arena. Follow Gary on Instagram @thisisgaryyang

Whether you would like your child to experience badminton or embark on a pathway to excel in it, the SBA Badminton Academy @ ActiveSG is the right place for you!