Young Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Children’s Fundamental Motor Competence and Physical Activity Behaviors

in Journal of Motor Learning and Development
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The purpose of this study was to examine the associations between fundamental motor skills (FMS; including locomotor and object-control skills), moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), and sedentary behavior among young Hispanic and non-Hispanic children. Using the prospective research design spanning one academic school year, we recruited 671 children (6.96 ± 1.6 years, 46% girls) from four primary schools in North Texas, 300 of whom were Hispanic and 371 non-Hispanic children, with 90% of the Hispanic and 74% of the non-Hispanic children from low-income families. All participants completed the PE Metrics FMS assessment and wore Actical accelerometers. Hispanic children demonstrated a lower level of MVPA on school days than their non-Hispanic peers. After adjusting for sociodemographic variables, both locomotor and object-control skills significantly predicted school-based MVPA for the non-Hispanic groups, while only object-control skills significantly predicted MVPA for the Hispanic group. For both ethnic groups, locomotor skills significantly predicted school-based sedentary behavior. The findings shed light on future motor competence–based interventions for physical activity promotion and obesity prevention among young Hispanic as well as non-Hispanic children.

Gu and Zhang are with the Department of Kinesiology, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX. Chen is with the School of Kinesiology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA.

Gu (Xiangli.Gu@uta.edu) is corresponding author.
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