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Fotini Venetsanou and Antonis Kambas

Background:

This study investigated if motor proficiency (MP) in preschool age associate with physical activity (PA) in adolescence.

Methods:

In 2004, the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency-Short Form (BOTMP-SF) (7) was administered to 413 children, aged 4–6 years, who were classified to MP groups according to their BOTMP-SF total score (TS). In 2014, the PA of 106 former participants (47 boys, 59 girls) was measured with Omron pedometers. MP [three (high; above average; average)] × gender (two) ANOVA and Bonferroni tests were computed on average of steps/week.

Results:

A significant interaction between the two factors was revealed (F = 15.27, p < .001, η2=.153), indicating that MP influenced male and female PA differently. Only in average MP group, males presented higher PA than females, whereas there were no differences between the two genders in the higher MP groups. Moreover, the only significant difference in PA among male groups was that between high and above average MP groups, while in females there were significant differences among all groups.

Conclusion:

High MP at preschool age positively associated with the PA in adolescence, especially in females. Emphasis on the development of proficient young movers might be beneficial for lifelong PA.

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Dimitrios Aivazidis, Fotini Venetsanou, Nikolaos Aggeloussis, Vassilios Gourgoulis and Antonis Kambas

Background: This study aimed at evaluating the effect of the “Walk,” an 8-month physical activity (PA) program led by classroom and physical education teachers, on the motor competence (MC) and PA of 5- to 6-year-old children. Methods: A total of 143 children (mean age = 61.51 [1.85] mo) participated in the study and were randomly assigned to the experimental and control groups. Children’s MC was assessed by the Körperkoordination Test für Kinder (KTK), and PA was objectively measured by Omron HJ-720IT-E2 pedometers. Measurements were performed at baseline, midintervention, and postintervention. A 1-sample t test computed at baseline step counts revealed that children presented significantly lower PA than recommended for their age (P < .001). To examine the effect of the intervention on children’s MC and PA, several repeated-measures analyses of variance were utilized on (1) KTK item scores and (2) pedometer data. Results: The results revealed that the Walk project led to practically significant changes in the experimental group compared with the control group in both MC (P < .001, η 2 > .14 for all KTK items) and PA (P < .001, η 2 = .23). Conclusions: This study highlights the efficacy of a PA project, involving both classroom and physical education teachers, for the enhancement of children’s MC and PA.

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Eva D’Hondt, Fotini Venetsanou, Antonis Kambas and Matthieu Lenoir

The targeted continent and/or country driven promotion of physical activity and health from an early age onwards requires more insight into cross-cultural differences in motor competence. Using the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, Second Edition Short Form (BOT-2 SF), this study assessed and compared both fine and gross motor skill performances of 5- and 6-year-old children from Belgium (n = 325) and Greece (n = 245). Linear mixed effect models and a χ2 test analyzed between-country differences in BOT-2 SF scores and the distribution across descriptive performance categories. Overall, Belgian and Greek participants displayed quite similar levels of motor competence, with fewer children performing (well-)below average than could be expected. On test item level, however, several significant differences emerged. Large effect sizes were found for knee push-ups (Hedges’ g = 1.46) and copying a square (Hedges’ g = 2.59), which demonstrated a better outcome for Belgian and Greek preschoolers, respectively. These findings might be attributed to different (physical) education practices in both European countries. The present study also highlights the importance of using an assessment tool covering the entire range of motor skills as well as a focusing primarily on raw performance scores, containing and explaining more variance, for international comparative research purposes.

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Fotini Venetsanou, Irene Kossyva, Nadia Valentini, Anastasia-Evangelia Afthentopoulou and Lisa Barnett

This study aimed to adapt the Pictorial Scale of Perceived Movement Skill Competence for Young Children (PMSC) in Greek and assess its reliability and face, construct, and concurrent validity in 5- to 9-year-old Greek children. Face validity was conducted with 20 children, whereas a larger sample (N = 227) was used to examine construct validity. Two subsamples (n = 38; n = 142) were used to investigate test-retest reliability and concurrent validity of the Greek version of the PMSC (PMSC-GR) with the Pictorial Scale of Perceived Competence and Social Acceptance for Young Children (PSPCSA) and the physical competence subscale (PCS), respectively. The panel of experts confirmed the clarity and concept integrity of the PMSC-GR. Temporal stability was confirmed for PMSC-GR total score and both Locomotor (LOC; ICC = .80; 95% CI, .62–.89) and Object Control (OC; ICC = .91; 95% CI, .82–.95) subscales. Appropriate internal consistency was found for the total score as well as for the LOC and OC scores (polychoric correlations: PMSC-GR, .80; LOC, .60; OC, .76). Confirmatory factor analysis supported the construct validity of a one-factor and two-factor model. Scores of the PMSC and the PSPCSA-PCS were correlated to a low level. The PMSC-GR is valid and reliable for Greek children and appears to measure a different construct to general physical perceived competence.

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Antonis Kambas, Maria Michalopoulou, Ioannis G. Fatouros, Christos Christoforidis, Eirini Manthou, Dimitra Giannakidou, Fotini Venetsanou, Elke Haberer, Athanassios Chatzinikolaou, Vassilios Gourgoulis and Renate Zimmer

The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between motor proficiency and pedometer-determined physical activity in 5–6 year-old children. Participants (n = 232) were randomly recruited and assessed from 30 kindergartens in Northern Greece. Two trained researchers administered the measurements for the assessment of children’s motor proficiency by using the BOTMP-SF. Physical activity was assessed by OMRON pedometers. Significant relationships between BOTMP-SF standard score and steps (S), aerobic walking time (AWT) and aerobic steps (AS), (p < .05) were found. When motor proficiency was divided into quartiles to assess the distribution of the relationship between motor proficiency and pedometer- derived variables, significant associations were found for AWT, S and AS (p < .001). Young children with high levels of motor proficiency were more active in contrast to their peers with lower motor proficiency. The findings add to the growing body of literature that considers motor skills/abilities as important elements of physical activity participation. (Abbreviations: S-steps per day; AS-aerobic steps per day; AWT-aerobic walking time (minutesfiay−1); BOTMP-SF-Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency-Short Form (standard score))