Correlates of School-Day Physical Activity of Young Children

Thursday, April 25, 2013
Exhibit Hall Poster Area 2 (Convention Center)
S. Wood Logan, Leah Robinson, Laura T. Barber, Julia C. Smith, Alexa D. Isaacs and Kara Palmer, Auburn University, Auburn, AL

Background/Purpose To determine the contribution of sex, age, body mass index, and motor competence to school-day physical activity participation in young children.

Method Thirty-two children from two childcare centers participated in this study. Sample 1 and 2 included 14 (M age = 3.5) and 18 children (M age = 4.9), respectively. Body Mass Index (BMI) values were calculated according to established guidelines. Children wore Omron HJ-720ITC pedometers for seven consecutive weekdays during the school-day and total step counts were converted to mean steps per minute for analyses. Children completed the Test of Gross Motor Development-2nd Ed. (TGMD) and the Movement Assessment Battery for Children-2nd Ed. (MABC). The TGMD includes two subscales: object control and locomotor skills. The MABC includes three subscales: manual dexterity, aiming and catching, and balance. Raw scores for subscales on each assessment were converted to standard scores according to manual guidelines. Spearman's correlations were calculated to determine the association between each variable and school-day physical activity.

Analysis/Results Correlations included: age (**-.64), BMI (-.16), object control (.44*), locomotor (.03), manual dexterity (-.09), aiming and catching (-.06), and balance (-.28). * and ** indicates significance at the .05 and .01 levels, respectively.

Conclusions Three-year olds were more active than four-year olds. Competence in object control skills was significantly associated with participation in physical activity. None of the subscales of the MABC-2 were associated with physical activity. The type of motor assessment administered may lead to different conclusions regarding the relationship between motor competence and physical activity.