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

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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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.

Silva-Santos, Lagoa, Vale, and Mota are with the Research Centre in Physical Activity, Health and Leisure, Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal. Santos is with the Campos de Andrade University Center (UNIANDRADE), Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil. Martins is with the Federal University of Paraíba, João Pessoa, Brazil. Duncan is with the School of Life Sciences, Coventry University, Coventry, United Kingdom. Silva-Santos is also with the Department of Sports, Douro, Higher Institute of Educational Sciences, Penafiel, Portugal. Lagoa is also with the Research Centre in Sports Sciences, Health Sciences and Human Development, CIDESD, University Institute of Maia, ISMAI, Maia, Portugal. Vale is also with the Department of Sport Sciences, High School of Education, Polytechnic Institute of Porto, Porto, Portugal.

Silva-Santos (sandrcris@gmail.com) is corresponding author.
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