A group of researchers from Finland and the U.S. set out to explore whether a positive and warm home atmosphere makes children and young adults more physically active in their free time. The results were published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. The journal is published by the American College of Sports Medicine. The researchers used a group of Finnish twins to explore how the home environment in childhood and adolescence modifies the genetic influences on leisure-time physical activity in young adulthood.
Parents and twins perceptions
The participants of the study reported their leisure-time physical activity when they were 24 years old. Back when they were 12, 14 and 17 years old their perceptions of their home environments were collected. The parents assessments were collected when the twins were 12 years old. The parents ratings of positive home atmosphere as well as the twins’ ratings of both positive home atmosphere at age 14, and lower relational tensions at ages 12 and 14 predicted higher leisure-time physical activity levels in young adulthood. This means that the more positive the home atmosphere is perceived, the more likely it is that the level of leisure-time physical activity will increase.
Warm and supportive
The researchers came to the conclusion that a home environment that is warm and supportive in childhood and adolescence not only increases the level of subsequent leisure-time physical activity in young adulthood, but also modifies the genetic and environmental variances in leisure-time physical activity.