Fathers play a crucial role in the development of their children's growing physical, emotional and social health. Mens Health Week is upon us and we encourage all Dads to take an active, lead role in demonstrating and role modelling healthy life choices and habits to benefit themselves, their children and family.
Being a parent in this world is a tough gig, so many rights and wrongs, rules to obey, recipes to follow, bums to wipe. One thing that parents struggle to do is sit back and view the forest past the mess in the playroom, lounge room and let’s be honest… all the rooms.
As fathers, our partners can often deserve to get the bulk of the credit for doing the bulk of the heavy lifting (wiping?) while rearing children in this modern society. However, one thing is becoming increasingly apparent both anecdotally and now shown in research [1,2] . Dads have a massive impact on the physical, emotional and social growth of their children.
We know that physical activity, healthy routines and good nutrition are critical for growing bodies and minds, and fathers can play a crucial role in parenting by consistently modelling those practices. When your children witness and engage with you while eating nutritious meals, participating in exercise and leading a healthy lifestyle, it can have a huge impact on your families’ future health.
When caring fathers are given the knowledge, skills and motivation to make those positive changes to their health behaviours, they can and do. Start by cracking out that old single kick skateboard, making the best salad your family has ever seen and telling your partner you love them in earshot of your kids. Looking after yourself will go a long way to looking after them.
1. Morgan, P. J., & Young, M. D. (2017). The Influence of Fathers on Children’s Physical Activity and Dietary Behaviors: Insights, Recommendations and Future Directions. Current Obesity Reports, 6(3), 324–333. doi:10.1007/s13679-017-0275-6
2. Neshteruk, C., Nezami, B., Nino-Tapias, G., Davison, K. & Ward, D. (2017). The influence of fathers on children's physical activity: A review of the literature from 2009 to 2015. Preventative Medicine, 102, 12-19. doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2017.06.027
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