Long-Term Importance of Fundamental Motor Skills: A 20-Year Follow-Up Study

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly

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Meghann LloydUniversity of Ontario Institute of Technology

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Travis J. SaundersChildren’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group University of Ottawa

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Emily BremerUniversity of Ontario Institute of Technology

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Mark S. TremblayChildren’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group University of Ottawa

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential long-term association of motor skill proficiency at 6 years of age and self-reported physical activity (PA) at age 26. Direct motor performance data were collected in 1991 with a follow-up study occurring in 1996, and then indirect questionnaires (self-report) administered in 2001 and 2011. In 2011, 17 participants who were identified as either having high motor proficiency (HMP) or low motor proficiency (LMP) in 1991 completed a series of 4 questionnaires. Analyses were conducted to determine whether there were differences between groups for motor skill proficiency, PA, or sedentary behavior, and whether these outcomes were related across ages. Motor skill proficiency at age 6 was related to self-reported proficiency at age 16 (r = .77, p = .006), and self-reported proficiency between 16 and 26 years (r = .85, p = .001). Motor skill proficiency at age 6 was positively associated with leisure time PA at age 26 in females and participants in the HMP group. The results may provide preliminary evidence about the importance of how early motor skill proficiency relates to long-term PA. More research with larger sample sizes is needed to investigate the importance of motor skills over time.

Meghann Lloyd and Emily Bremer are in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Travis J. Saunders and Mark S. Tremblay are with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute and the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa.

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