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Physical Activity during the School Holidays: Parent Perceptions and Practical Considerations

Centre for Exercise, Nutrition & Health Sciences, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol, 8 Priory Road, Bristol, BS8 1TZ, UK
School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Present Address: School of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol, 12a Priory Road, Bristol, BS2 1TU, UK.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(10), 1697;
Received: 1 April 2019 / Revised: 7 May 2019 / Accepted: 8 May 2019 / Published: 14 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Children Health)
PDF [698 KB, uploaded 17 May 2019]


Children’s physical activity decreases during school holidays. Less structured days and reduced participation in organised activities may account for some of the decrease. Little is known about the factors that influence parents’ decision to enrol their child in organised activity such as holiday clubs. This paper sought to explore parents’ perceptions of their child’s physical activity during school holidays and the factors that influence holiday activity-based decision making. Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with 42 parents of children aged 10–11 years in July 2017 or March 2018. Data were analysed using a combination of inductive and deductive content analysis to explore parents’ perceptions of holiday-based physical activity and the factors associated with how they provide physical activity opportunities for their children. The data revealed that most parents consider their child’s physical activity levels when planning for the school holidays. However, work commitments in the holidays meant many parents had to rely on both informal and formal childcare. Grandparents were the primary source of informal childcare, despite a perception that children were not as physically active when with them. Holiday clubs were also a viable option, but the cost, location and age-appropriateness of provision inhibit parents signing older children up to these regularly. View Full-Text
Keywords: physical activity; children; school holidays; holiday clubs physical activity; children; school holidays; holiday clubs

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Emm-Collison, L.G.; Lewis, S.; Reid, T.; Matthews, J.; Sebire, S.J.; Thompson, J.L.; Jago, R. Physical Activity during the School Holidays: Parent Perceptions and Practical Considerations. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 1697.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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