WEDNESDAY, Nov. 16, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Mothers of young children and mothers of multiple children may engage in lower amounts of moderate or vigorous physical activity (MVPA), according to a study published online Nov. 16 in PLOS ONE.

Rachel F. Simpson, from the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined associations between ages and number of children and device-measured maternal physical activity (PA). The analysis included 848 mothers with accelerometer data on PA.

The researchers found that women with any school-aged children engaged in more MVPA than those with only children 4 years and younger (46.9 percent difference). Compared with mothers with one child, mothers with multiple children did less MVPA (e.g., 12.5 percent less MVPA for those with two children). Among mothers with multiple children, those with any school-aged children did less light, moderate, or vigorous PA (LMVPA) than those with only children aged 4 years or younger (e.g., for mothers with two children, those with only school-aged children did 34 minutes/day less LMVPA). For mothers with any children aged 4 years or younger, more LMVPA was seen among those with more children (e.g., for mothers with only children aged 4 years or younger, those with two children did 42.6 minutes/day more LMVPA versus those with one child).

“We need to find ways to help mothers of younger or multiple children to engage in higher intensity physical activity,” the authors said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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