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Identifying Fundamental Motor Skills Building Blocks in Preschool Children From Brazil and the United States: A Network Analysis

Clarice Martins, E. Kipling Webster, Paulo Felipe Ribeiro Bandeira, and Amanda E. Staiano

Fundamental motor skills (FMSs) are building blocks for future movements and may vary according to cultural context. Moreover, network analysis can identify which skills contribute most to an overall set of skills. This study identified the most influential FMS in samples of U.S. and Brazil preschoolers that may contribute to a pattern of adequate motor skills. Participants were 101 Brazilian (55 boys; 47.52 ± 5.57 months of age) and 236 U.S. preschoolers (108 boys; 49.56 ± 8.27 months of age), who provided completed FMS assessments (Test of Gross Motor Development—third edition). Confirmatory factorial analysis was used to test alternative models. To quantify the importance of each variable in the network, the expected influence was calculated, using the network analysis Mplus, Rstudio, and JASP (version 0.14.1). Reduced models with nine and 11 FMS for Brazilian and U.S. preschoolers, respectively, showed adequate adjustment indexes. Jump (1.412) and one-hand strike (0.982) in the Brazilian sample, and hop (1.927) and dribble (0.858) in the U.S. sample, showed the highest expected influence values. This study presents a new perspective to report which are the most important FMS in preschoolers of different sociocultural contexts, which act as building blocks for the acquisition of more complex motor skills.

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Associations Between Motor Competence, Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity, and Body Mass Index Among Preschoolers Over 1 Year

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

Background: To examine the associations between motor competence (MC), moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), and body mass index (BMI) changes over 1 year in preschoolers. Methods: Fifty-four preschoolers (24 girls; 42.4%) aged 4–5 years old from the metropolitan area of Porto, Portugal comprised the sample. Height, body mass, and BMI were calculated. MC was assessed according to the Movement Assessment Battery for Children-2. MVPA was measured by accelerometry. For each participant, changes in MVPA, MC, and BMI over a year were computed. Different levels of MC were calculated; and then data were analyzed. Results: The MVPA increased over time in all levels of MC in the follow-up. The BMI decreased over time for all levels in follow-up (P = .001). The preschoolers classified as at a high level of MC were more likely to spend more time in MVPA (in minutes) than their counterparts with low MC in follow-up. Multiple linear regression analyses, adjusted by sex and age, were fit to predict Δ% MC by Δ% MVPA and Δ% BMI. The Δ% MC was positively associated with Δ% MVPA. Conclusion: Increases in MC were positively associated with MVPA. Higher performance in MC increases due to time spent in MVPA. Improvement of MC in young children has potentially relevant policy implications related to MVPA and public health.

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Associations Between Self-Rated Health With Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Obesity Status Among Adolescent Girls

Jorge Mota, Rute M. Santos, Pedro Silva, Luisa Aires, Clarice Martins, and Susana Vale


The main goal of this study was to analyze the associations between cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and body mass index (BMI) with self-rated health (SRH) of adolescent girls.


This was a cross-sectional study of 533 adolescents girls, aged from 10 to 18 years old. CRF was predicted by maximal multistage 20-m shuttle-run test according to procedures described from FITNESSGRAM. Girls’ obesity status was classified according to International Obesity Task Force and Self-rated health (SRH) was assessed by questionnaire.


The findings showed that among adolescent girls 23.2% had negative SRH. Girls who were classified as unfit were more likely to report negative SRH in both univariate logistic (OR: 3.05; CI: 1.91−4.87; P < .05) and multivariate (OR: 2.93; CI: 1.82−4.72; P < .05) regression analyses compared with their fit peers. Obese girls were more likely to report negative SRH (OR: 2.30; CI: 1.14−4.62; P < .05) compared with their normal-weight counterparts. However such association was lost in multivariate analyses suggesting an effect of CRF.


Negative perception of health was associated with lower CRF and weight status although such association it is mediated by CRF condition.

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Trends of Cardiovascular Risk Factors Clustering Over Time: A Study in Two Cohorts of Portuguese Adolescents

Clarice Martins, Francisco Silva, Maria Paula Santos, José Carlos Ribeiro, and Jorge Mota

This study analyzes trends in CVD risk factors and aerobic performance. Two cross-sectional studies were performed including 138 (58 boys and 80 girls) in 1998 and 110 (44 boys and 66 girls) in 2003 adolescents. Although in cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) boys performed better than girls, they had lower body mass index (BMI) and total cholesterol (TC) than girls. The data also showed a significant year effect (p = .000) for CRF in both boys and girls. The sex–age group interaction was not significant (p > .05). This cross-sectional study revealed a marked low CRF level over time in both boys and girls.

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Cardiorespiratory Fitness, But Not Central Obesity or C-Reactive Protein, Is Related to Liver Function in Obese Children

Clarice Martins, Ismael Freitas Jr., Andréia Pizarro, Luísa Aires, Gustavo Silva, Maria Paula Santos, and Jorge Mota

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most frequent complications associated with excess adiposity. Its pathogenesis is complex and there are multiple factors that may contribute to it. AIM: To analyze whether cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), waist circumference (WC), and C-reactive protein (CRP) are associated with alanine aminotransferase (ALT) in children with obesity. METHODS: 79 overweight/obese children of both genders, 11–13 year-olds, with abnormal serum ALT from Porto public schools comprised the sample. Measurements included CRF (20-m Shuttle Run Test), WC (NHANES protocol), CRP and ALT (Cholestech LDX analyzer). Logistic regression adjusted for gender, maturation, and weight with ALT levels as dependent variable (risk vs. non risk), and WC (risk vs. non risk), CRP (risk vs. non risk), and CRF (fit vs. unfit) as independent variables. Level of significance was set at 95%. RESULTS: Logistic regression showed that obese fit children were less likely to have abnormal ALT values (OR=.031) CONCLUSION: In obese children, higher cardiovascular fitness appears to reduce the chance of decreased liver function.

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Prevalence and Sociodemographic Correlates of Meeting the 24-Hour Movement Guidelines Among Low-Income Brazilian Older Adults With Chronic Diseases

Antonio Henrique Germano Soares, Andrea Wendt, Inácio Crochemore-Silva, Clarice Martins, Arthur Oliveira Barbosa, Mauro Virgílio Gomes de Barros, and Rafael M. Tassitano

This study examined the prevalence and sociodemographic correlates of meeting individual behavior and 24-hr movement behavior guidelines among Brazilian older adults with chronic diseases. The sample comprised 273 older adults aged ≥60 years (80.2% women) with chronic diseases from Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil. Sociodemographic variables were self-reported, while 24-hr movement behaviors were assessed by accelerometry. Participants were classified as meeting (or not meeting) individual and integrated recommendations for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), sedentary behavior, and sleep duration. No participant met the 24-hr movement behavior guidelines, while only 8.4% met integrated MVPA/sleep recommendations. The prevalence of meeting recommendations of MVPA, sedentary behavior, and sleep was 28.9%, 0.4%, and 32.6%, respectively. Discrepancies according to sociodemographic variables on meeting MVPA recommendations existed. The findings show the need for dissemination and implementation strategies to foster adoption of the 24-hr movement behavior guidelines among Brazilian older adults with chronic diseases.

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The Körperkoordinations Test Für Kinder for Iranian Youth: Factor Structure, Measurement Invariance, and Covariates

Sedigheh Salami, Paulo Felipe Ribeiro Bandeira, Clarice Martins, Louise L. Hardy, Amir Shams, and Parvaneh Shamsipour Dehkordi

Purpose: To examine the factor structure and measurement invariance of the Körperkoordinations Test Für Kinder (KTK) and covariates of motor competence in a sample of Iranian children aged 5–14 years. Methods: Participants were children aged 5–14 years (N = 432, 61% boys). Age, sex, and body mass index were collected. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted to investigate the factorial structure of KTK and multigroup CFA carried out to test measurement invariance across sexes and age groups. In addition, we calculated a model with covariates to identify the association between KTK items with age, sex, and body mass index z score. Results: CFA supported the construct validity of a one-factor model with an appropriate fit indices that the four subtests loaded on the same factor namely motor competence. Furthermore, according to the magnitude of changes in root mean square error of approximation and comparative fit index between nested models, the assumption of KTK measurement invariance across age-groups and sex were valid. Finally, adequate fit indices were found for the multigroup CFA path model of KTK with the covariates sex, age, and body mass index z score. Conclusion: The KTK is a valid, reliable, and valuable instrument for assessing motor competence of Iranian children and adolescents.

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TGMD-2 Short Version: Evidence of Validity and Associations With Sex, Age, and BMI in Preschool Children

Paulo Felipe Ribeiro Bandeira, Michael Duncan, Maria Luiza Pessoa, Ívina Soares, Larissa da Silva, Jorge Mota, and Clarice Martins

Aim: To analyze the evidence of validity and reliability of the Test of Gross Motor Development, Second Edition (TGMD-2) for low-income preschoolers; and to investigate the associations between the final model with sex, age, and body mass index (BMI). Methods: 368 preschoolers (3–5 years old [M = 4.80, SD = 0.48]; 176 boys) located in deprived areas were assessed for anthropometric measures and motor competence via the TGMD-2. A two-factor model (12 skills) was used and confirmatory indexes were calculated. The Bayesian criteria and the Composite Reliability were employed to evaluate alternative models. Relationships between the final model proposed with age, sex, and BMI were calculated using a network analysis (Mplus 8.0; Rstudio). Results: A two-factor model (locomotion and object control) with adequate values (>0.30) for the six skills (gallop, leap, slide, strike, throw, and roll) presented excellent indexes. Relationships between sex and throwing (r = −.22), and strike (r = −.21), indicated better performance for boys. Positive relationships were found for age with slide (r = 0.23) and hop (r = 0.28), and for BMI with throw (r = 0.18). Conclusion: Validity of a TGMD-2 short version for low-income preschoolers was present. The machine learning analysis to associate fundamental movement skills with gender, age, and BMI seems useful to optimize future interventions.

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Higher Physical Activity Is Related to Lower Neck Adiposity in Young Men, but to Higher Neck Adiposity in Young Women: An Exploratory Study

Maria Jose Arias-Tellez, Francisco M. Acosta, Jairo H. Migueles, Jose M. Pascual-Gamarra, Elisa Merchan-Ramirez, Clarice M. de Lucena Martins, Jose M. Llamas-Elvira, Borja Martinez-Tellez, and Jonatan R. Ruiz

The role of lifestyle behaviors on neck adipose tissue (NAT), a fat depot that appears to be involved in the pathogenesis of different cardiometabolic diseases and in inflammatory status, is unknown. In this cross-sectional and exploratory study, the authors examined the relationship between sedentary time and physical activity (PA) with neck adiposity in young adults. A total of 134 subjects (69% women, 23 ± 2 years) were enrolled. The time spent in sedentary behavior and PA of different intensity were objectively measured for 7 consecutive days (24 hr/day), using a wrist (nondominant)-worn accelerometer. The NAT volume was assessed using computed tomography, and the compartmental (subcutaneous, intermuscular, and perivertebral) and total NAT volumes were determined at the level of vertebra C5. Anthropometric indicators and body composition (by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) were determined. The time spent in light physical activity and moderate physical activity (MPA) and the overall PA were inversely associated with the intermuscular NAT volume in men, as were the MPA and overall PA with total NAT volume (all ps ≤ .04). Sedentary time was directly related to the total NAT volume (p = .04). An opposite trend was observed in women, finding a direct relationship of MPA with the subcutaneous NAT; of light physical activity, MPA, and overall PA with the perivertebral NAT; and of light physical activity with total NAT volumes (all ps ≤ .05). The observed associations were weak, and after adjusting for multiplicity, the results became nonsignificant (p > .05). These findings suggest that the specific characteristics of PA (time and intensity) might have sex-dependent implications in the accumulation of NAT.

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A Network Perspective on the Relationship Between Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity and Fundamental Motor Skills in Early Childhood

Thaynã Alves Bezerra, Paulo Felipe Ribeiro Bandeira, Anastácio Neco de Souza Filho, Cain Craig Truman Clark, Jorge Augusto Pinto Silva Mota, Michael Joseph Duncan, and Clarice Maria de Lucena Martins

Background: The relationship between moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and fundamental motor skill (FMS) is inconsistent in early childhood, due to its complex and nonlinear characteristics. This study aimed to analyze the nonlinear relationships between MVPA, FMS, body mass index (BMI), sex, and age in preschoolers. Methods: This cross-sectional study with preschoolers (n = 204; 4.0 [0.8] y old; 99 boys), provided objective physical activity data, FMS assessments, and BMI. The associations between MVPA, FMS, BMI, sex, and age were explored using the network analysis (RStudio and qgraph). Results: Boys were more motor competent than girls in all FMS skills, while girls were more active than boys during the weekend. Older children were less active than their younger peers during these days. MVPA is weak and differently related to each FMS, and the leap skill emerged with the highest betweenness and strength values in the network. Conclusions: For the assessed preschoolers, when considering BMI, age, and sex, the relationships between MVPA and FMS are inconsistent, and leap emerged as the main variable. During early childhood, these variables are connected as part of a complex system in which each skill has a dynamic role within the emerging pattern.