Health benefits of physical activity (PA) and physical fitness (PF) are reasonably well established, but tracking studies of PA and PF in childhood have not ordinarily considered the role of motor coordination.
To compare the growth status, gross motor coordination (GMC), PA, and PF characteristics of children at 6 years of age relative to aerobic fitness (fit, unfit) and PA (active, sedentary) at 10 years.
285 primary school children (142 girls, 143 boys) resident on the 4 main Azorean islands, Portugal, were measured annually (in the fall) from 6 to 10 years. ANOVA and t tests were computed with SPSS 17.
Children with either high aerobic fitness or with high level of PA at 10 years of age tended to have a more favorable profile at 6 years compared with those with low fitness or low activity, respectively. Children who were both fit and active at 10 years of age had a more favorable activity and fitness profile and had better GMC at 6 years compared with children who were unfit and sedentary.
Results highlight the need to consider not only PA, but also PF and GMC in health promotion through the primary school years.