Age and Sex Differences in Fundamental Movement Skills Among a Cohort of Irish School Children

in Journal of Motor Learning and Development
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The purpose of this study was to assess the fundamental movement skill (FMS) proficiency of Irish primary school children relative to age and sex. Data collected were baseline measures for Project Spraoi, a physical activity (PA) and nutrition-based intervention. Participants (N = 203) were senior infant (n = 102, M age: 6.0 ± 0.4 years) and fourth class (n = 101, M age: 9.9 ± 0.4 years) children from three primary schools in the south of Ireland. FMS testing was conducted using the Test of Gross Motor Development-2 (TGMD-2), assessing six locomotor and six object-control skills. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to assess age and sex related differences in FMS proficiency. Older children scored significantly higher than younger children in both locomotor (p < .05) and object-control score (p < .05). Boys scored significantly higher than girls in object-control score (p < .05), while girls scored significantly higher in locomotor score (p < .05). FMS levels among Irish primary school children are similar to children worldwide, with age and sex differences evident. Early interventions, aimed at improving FMS, are warranted among Irish primary school aged children as greater proficiency is related to greater PA participation and numerous health benefits.

L.E. Bolger, L.A. Bolger, O’ Neill, Coughlan, and Burns are with the Dept. of Sport, Leisure and Childhood Studies, Cork Institute of Technology, Cork, Ireland. O’Brien is with the School of Education, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland. Lacey is with the Dept. of Mathematics, Cork Institute of Technology, Cork, Ireland.

Address author correspondence to Lisa E. Bolger at lisa.bolger@mycit.ie.
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