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The activity level of mothers depends on the number and age of the children: Research | News

November 20, 2022, 11:42 PM ISTSource: ANI

Mothers with younger children are the least likely to achieve necessary levels of moderate to vigorous exercise, according to one study. Less than half of women do. The findings of the study have been published in PLOS ONE. Physical activity, especially when moderate to vigorous, has many health benefits, reducing the risk of a wide range of diseases from cancer to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as helping to maintain a healthy weight and a maintain better mental health. There is some evidence that physical activity can help parents cope with the day-to-day challenges of parenting and strengthen relationships with children when they are active together. However, parents are generally less active than non-parents. To investigate how family composition affected mothers’ levels of physical activity, researchers from the University of Cambridge and the University of Southampton analyzed data from 848 women who took part in the UK Southampton Women’s Survey. The women aged 20-34 were recruited between 1998 and 2002 and followed in subsequent years. They were given accelerometers to assess their activity level. Women with school-aged children averaged about 26 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day, while mothers with only younger children (4 years or younger) did about 18 minutes* per day. Having more than one child meant mothers only completed about 21 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day, but interestingly, mothers with multiple children, all under five years old, engaged in more light-intensity activities than mothers with school-aged children. Less than 50 percent of mothers met recommended levels of moderate to vigorous physical activity (150 minutes per week), regardless of their children’s ages.

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