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Sex-Related Differences in the Association of Fundamental Movement Skills and Health and Behavioral Outcomes in Children

Phillip J. Hill, Melitta A. McNarry, Leanne Lester, Lawrence Foweather, Lynne M. Boddy, Stuart J. Fairclough, and Kelly A. Mackintosh

This study aimed to assess whether sex moderates the association of fundamental movement skills and health and behavioral outcomes. In 170 children (10.6 ±0.3 years; 98 girls), path analysis was used to assess the associations of fundamental movement skills (Get Skilled, Get Active) with perceived sports competence (Children and Youth—Physical Self-Perception Profile), time spent in vigorous-intensity physical activity, sedentary time, and body mass index z score. For boys, object control skill competence had a direct association with perceived sports competence (β = 0.39; 95% confidence interval, CI [0.21, 0.57]) and an indirect association with sedentary time, through perceived sports competence (β = −0.19; 95% CI [−0.09, −0.32]). No significant association was observed between fundamental movement skills and perceived sports competence for girls, although locomotor skills were found to predict vigorous-intensity physical activity (β = 0.18; 95% CI [0.08, 0.27]). Perceived sports competence was associated with sedentary time, with this being stronger for boys (β = −0.48; 95% CI [−0.64, −0.31]) than girls (β = −0.29; 95% CI [−0.39, −0.19]). The study supports a holistic approach to health-related interventions and highlights a key association of perceived sports competence and the time children spend sedentary.