Physical activity and TV viewing parenting practices for toddlers among South Asian and white families in the UK: born in Bradford 1000 study

Publication authors

Kwon, Soyang; Kandula R, Namratha; Tandon S, Pooja, Shah S, Nilay



Children of South Asian (SA) origin in the UK have lower levels of physical activity (PA), compared to their White counterparts. Parents play an important role in establishing PA habits among young children. The aim of this study was to compare PA and television (TV) viewing parenting practices for young children between SA British (SAB) and White British (WB) parents living in the UK.


We conducted a secondary analysis of the Born in Bradford (BiB) 1000 study, using survey data at child ages 24 and 36 months. The study sample included three groups of mothers (n = 1,149): foreign-born SAB (n = 458), UK-born SAB (n = 276), and WB (n = 455). Mothers completed a survey about parenting practices (i.e., PA supports, PA restrictions, TV viewing restrictions) at child age 24 months and child PA and TV viewing behaviors at child ages 24 and 36 months. Parenting practices were compared among the three groups. Multivariable linear regression analyses compared children’s weekly walking frequency and daily TV viewing hours by parenting practices in the three groups.


The foreign-born SAB group showed the lowest frequencies of PA-supportive parenting practices (verbal encouragement: 3.7 ± 3.1 times/week; logistic support: 1.5 ± 1.8 times/week) and the highest frequencies of PA-restrictive parenting practices (7.8 ± 7.7 times/week) among the three groups (p < 0.01). Children of Foreign-born SAB mothers had the most frequent TV watching during a mealtime (4.0 ± 3.1 times/week) among the three groups (p < 0.01). Less frequent PA-supportive parenting practices and SA ethnicity were associated with lower walking frequency at 24 and 36 months of age among children (p < 0.01). More frequent exposure to TV at mealtimes and SA ethnicity were associated with higher TV viewing time at 24 and 36 months of age among children (p < 0.01).


This study demonstrated that SAB parents, particularly those who are foreign-born, apply parenting practices for their young children that are less supportive of PA and more supportive of TV viewing, and their children have lower PA and higher TV viewing time, compared with their WB counterparts.