Parents who show too much concern while their children play in parks are actually stopping their children from being as active, says a new study. It seems “helicopter parents” could inadvertently be encouraging obesity.
“It’s a catch-22 for today’s parents, unfortunately. Many parents are worried about the safety of their children, so they tend to hover. The worry is – especially as we are seeing childhood obesity become an epidemic in this country [USA] – hovering is keeping kids from running around and playing with their friends, and instead maybe sitting in front of the computer or television,” said lead researcher Dr Jason Bocarro.
The study, carried out by the North Carolina State University research team, looked at 20 parks in North Carolina, categorising the children playing by the headings “sedentary, moderately active or vigorously active”. The research found that children with hovering parents were often stopped from spontaneous play.
“We chose to study parks because they have been identified by studies as critical spaces within communities to help children stay active. This research will help us determine what activities and programmes we can implement to make our public parks and recreational facilities places where people – especially children – want to spend their free time,” added Jason, reports the Daily Mail.