UVic Parental Fitness Study Seeks Volunteers

Have you just had a child or do you have young children? Despite the pressures of parenthood, have you maintained a fitness regime, or are you struggling to find the time to stay fit?

Either way, the University of Victoria would like to hear from you. Dr. Ryan Rhodes, an exercise psychologist in the University of Victoria’s School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education, is looking for volunteers to participate in a study on parenthood and physical fitness.

He’s looking for couples expecting their first child, couples expecting their second child, couples with young children in the home, and couples not expecting children.

Rhodes is leading three studies on the health behaviours of parents. One study will compare couples expecting their first child to couples not expecting children by tracking them for two years. A second, two-year study will compare couples expecting their first child to those expecting their second.

“Parents say going from one child to two isn’t double the work, it’s exponential. We’re putting that to the test,” says Rhodes. “We do these kinds of studies to understand why there is a decrease in physical activity. Once we know that, we can work to prevent it.”

A third study is tracking about 100 families with children between the ages of two and seven for one month to see if there are simple ways to increase family activity. The participants are separated into three groups. One group tracks physical activity. A second group is learning about the benefits of physical activity. And the third group is having physical activity scheduled for them.

“When a parent’s time is so constrained, everything has to be scheduled,” says Rhodes. “Physical activity is often the first thing to leave the schedule, so our intervention is attempting to put it back.”

So far, the research team has found that availability of child care is one of the main predictors of parental activity levels.

“Child care is important for so many reasons, but especially for parental health,” says Rhodes. “Parents have long lives ahead of them, and we want to keep them healthy. Changing their behaviours at this point to make them more active is very important.”

To volunteer as a study participant, call 250-472-5488 or email rhodes@uvic.ca.

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Media contacts

Dr. Ryan Rhodes (Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education) at 250-721-8384

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Keywords: uvic, parental, fitness, study, seeks, volunteers

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