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Sandra Silva-Santos, Amanda Santos, Michael Duncan, Susana Vale and Jorge Mota

Introduction: Adequate gross motor coordination is essential for children participating in age-related physical activities and has an important role in maintaining sufficient physical activity levels during the life course. Aim: To examine the association between moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and gross motor coordination during sedentary behavior in early childhood (ages 3–6 y). Methods: The sample comprised 209 children aged 3–6 y. Gross motor coordination was assessed according to the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (MABC-2). The battery to assess gross motor coordination comprised the aiming and catching, and balance components. MVPA was measured by accelerometry worn for 7 consecutive days (Monday to Sunday). Results: Our data indicated that 31.5% of the sample had low, 32.5% medium, and 36.0% high gross motor coordination. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that MVPA was positively associated with gross motor coordination, adjusted for gender and sedentary behavior. Conclusions: Preschoolers with high gross motor coordination spend more time in MVPA. Gross motor coordination development should therefore be a key strategy in childhood interventions aiming to promote physical activity.

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Amanda Santos, Sandra Silva-Santos, Michael Duncan, Maria João Lagoa, Susana Vale and Jorge Mota

Purposes: To examine the association between sedentary time (ST) and light physical activity (LPA), moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA), and body mass index (BMI), and to track these behaviors over a 3-year follow-up in young schoolchildren. Methods: The final sample was 64 children (female: n = 36 or 56.3%), enrolled in schools in Porto, Portugal. Height and mass of children were measured by standard methods, and BMI was then calculated. ST, LPA, and MVPA were measured by accelerometer. Changes (Δ) and relative changes (Δ%) between 2009/2010 and 2012/2013 of ST, LPA, MVPA, and BMI were computed. Multiple linear regression analyses were fit to predict Δ%ST (outcome variable), by Δ%LPA, Δ%MVPA, and Δ%BMI (exposure variables). Results: ST increased and LPA decreased significantly for whole sample (both Ps < .05). No statistically significant difference was found for MVPA over time. There were no differences for ΔST, ΔLPA, ΔMVPA, and ΔBMI between boys and girls. The Δ%LPA and Δ%MVPA were negatively associated with Δ%ST, whereas Δ%BMI was positively associated. Tracking coefficients varied from moderate to strong. Conclusions: Time spent in ST increases due to displacement of time in LPA. This reinforces public health measures and suggests the need for interventions focusing on offsetting the decline ST and increasing MVPA during childhood.