Physical activity and social connectedness in single-parent families

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Little is known about how to promote physical activity in single‐parent families. We evaluated physical activity, barriers to physical activity and social connectedness changes in single‐parent families following a one year YMCA programme. At baseline, 106 single parents completed a survey about physical activity, barriers to activity and social connectedness. Sixty‐four parents provided data after 12 months. Self‐reported minutes of physical activity per week decreased over the 12 months (p < 0.05). However, perceptions of activity over the 12 months increased 44% for parents and 66% for children. Family‐related barriers that decreased following the programme included a lack of time and affordability of existing opportunities. Compared with their baseline responses, parents at 12 months showed an increased frequency of visits with friends (p < 0.05). Difficulties in recruiting and retaining single parents to complete the evaluation are testimony to the current poor understanding of the leisure needs of single‐parent families. The results provide direction for future research.

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Journal Article

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