Associations Between Physical Activity and Gross Motor Skills in Parent–Child Dyads

in Journal of Motor Learning and Development

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Katherine Q. Scott-AndrewsAmerican University, Washington, DC, USA

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Rebecca E. HassonUniversity of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

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Alison L. MillerUniversity of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

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Thomas J. TemplinUniversity of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

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Leah E. RobinsonUniversity of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

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This study examines the associations of physical activity and gross motor skills in parent–child dyads. Parent–child dyads (N = 61, 84% mothers, children aged 8–11 years) participated in this study. Anthropometrics were self-reported through Qualtrics. Physical activity was assessed using accelerometers. Motor skills were measured through four skills: catch, kick, throw, and jump. These skills were assessed using process (i.e., performance criteria of the Test of Gross Motor Development-3) and product (i.e., catch percentage and jump distance) measures. A complete motor skill score was computed by standardizing both process and product scores and summing them. Correlation coefficients and ordinary least square regressions were computed to examine the associations of physical activity and motor skills. Parents’ and children’s moderate to vigorous physical activity were significantly associated (β = 0.30 ± 0.11; p = .008). Parents’ and children’s motor skills were significantly associated (β = 0.46 ± 0.18; p = .012). Understanding parent determinants can support effective interventions targeting children’s low physical activity levels and improving motor competence. Our results highlight the importance of parents’ physical activity and motor skills, which are significantly associated with those of their children. These parent factors may be a key consideration for effective family-based physical activity interventions.

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