Association of Individual Motor Abilities and Accelerometer-Derived Physical Activity Measures in Preschool-Aged Children

in Journal for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour
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  • 1 Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology-BIPS
  • | 2 University of Bremen
  • | 3 University of Guelph
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This study explored the relationship between motor abilities and accelerometer-derived measures of physical activity (PA) within preschool-aged children. A total of 193 children (101 girls, 4.2 ± 0.7 years) completed five tests to assess motor abilities, shuttle run (SR), standing long jump, lateral jumping, one-leg stand, and sit and reach. Four PA variables derived from 7-day wrist-worn GENEActiv accelerometers were analyzed including moderate to vigorous PA (in minutes), total PA (in minutes), percentage of total PA time in moderate to vigorous PA, and whether or not children met World Health Organization guidelines for PA. Linear regressions were conducted to explore associations between each PA variable (predictor) and motor ability (outcome). Models were adjusted for age, sex, height, parental education, time spent at sports clubs, and wear time. Models with percentage of total PA time in moderate to vigorous PA were adjusted for percentage of total PA time. Regression analyses indicated that no PA variables were associated with any of the motor abilities, but demographic factors such as age (e.g., SR: ß = −0.45; 95% confidence interval [−1.64, −0.66]), parental education (e.g., SR: ß = 0.25; 95% confidence interval [0.11, 1.87]), or sports club time (e.g., SR: ß = −0.08; 95% confidence interval [−0.98, 0.26]) showed substantial associations with motor abilities. Model strength varied depending on the PA variable and motor ability entered. Results demonstrate that total PA and meeting current PA guidelines may be of importance for motor ability development and should be investigated further. Other covariates showed stronger associations with motor abilities such as time spent at sports clubs and should be investigated in longitudinal settings to assess the associations with individual motor abilities.

Breau, B. Brandes, Wright, Buck and M. Brandes are with the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology-BIPS, Bremen, Germany. Breau and Wright are also with the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany. Breau and Vallis are with the Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Breau (rbreau@uoguelph.ca) is corresponding author.
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