Obesity and Movement Competency in Children

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J. Dru Marshall University of Alberta

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Marcel Bouffard University of Alberta

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The primary purpose of this study was to document the actual gross movement competencies, as measured by the Test of Gross Motor Development, in obese versus nonobese children. A 2 Gender (male, female) × 2 Groups (obese, nonobese) × 2 Age Categories (Grade 1, Grade 4) × 2 Programs (quality daily physical education [QDPE], non-QDPE) completely randomized factorial design was used. A significant three-way interaction effect (Group × Age × Program) was found for the Locomotor Skills subscale, such that the difference in movement competency in locomotor skills between obese and nonobese children increased as children got older if they did not receive QPDE. A significant main program effect was also found for the Object Control Skills subscale, with the QDPE children scoring higher than the non-QDPE children. It appears, then, that QDPE programs offer a “protective” effect for the development of locomotor skills in obese children. Implications of these findings are discussed.

J. Dru Marshall and Marcel Bouffard are with the Department of Physical Education and Sport Studies at the University of Alberta, P-421 Van Vliet Physical Education Centre, Edmonton, AB Canada T6G 2H9.

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