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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 546925, 23 pages
Review Article

Associations of Parental Influences with Physical Activity and Screen Time among Young Children: A Systematic Review

1Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
2Health Promotion Service, Sydney Local Health District, Level 9, King George V Building, Missenden Road, Camperdown, NSW 2050, Australia
3Shanghai 10th People’s Hospital, University of Tongji, Shanghai, China

Received 28 July 2014; Revised 14 November 2014; Accepted 24 November 2014

Academic Editor: Gengsheng He

Copyright © 2015 Huilan Xu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Parents play a critical role in developing and shaping their children’s physical activity (PA) and sedentary behaviours, particularly in the early years of life. The aim of this systematic review is to identify current literature investigating associations of parental influences with both PA and screen time in young children. This systematic review was conducted in November 2013 using 6 electronic databases covering research literature from January 1998 to November 2013. Thirty articles that met inclusion criteria were identified. These studies covered five important aspects of parenting: (1) parenting practices; (2) parents’ role modelling; (3) parental perceptions of children’s PA and screen viewing behaviours; (4) parental self-efficacy; and (5) general parenting style. Findings suggest that parents’ encouragement and support can increase children’s PA, and reducing parents’ own screen time can lead to decreased child screen time. Improving parenting practices, parental self-efficacy or changing parenting style may also be promising approaches to increasing PA time and decreasing screen time of young children.