The influence of physical activity behaviour on the relationship between motor proficiency and body composition in children
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There is an emerging awareness that children with poor motor abilities are at particular risk for overweight. This cross-sectional study examined the influence of physical activity behaviour on the relationship between motor proficiency and body composition. Participants were 1287 (646 males, 641 females) Grade 6 students in the Physical Health Activity Study project. Height, weight, waist girth, and motor proficiency (Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Performance BOTMP-SF) were assessed. Physical activity behaviours were also evaluated with a multifaceted approach and reported for school-based, non-school based physical activity, free-time play, and sedentary activities (Participation Questionnaire), and leisure time exercise (Godin-Shephard Leisure Time Exercise Questionnaire GS). Overweight was defined by BMI scores: boys :::20.6-21.2 and <25.1-26.0; girls: ::: 20.7-21.7and <25.4-26.7 and obesity was defined as: boys:::: 25.1-26.0; girls: :::25.4-26.7. Children were classified as case group (CG,::; 10% on BOTMP-SF), borderline case group (BC, > 10% to ::; 20% on BOTMP-SF) or non-case group. Analyses of variance (ANOVAs) uncovered a significant difference in overweight and obesity between the case group and non-case group. Normal-weight children reported higher participation in organized school-sports (intra-mural and inter-school teams). The CG reported significantly lower participation in school sports teams and lower GS results, with a trend towards lower participation in all active pursuits. They also reported a significantly higher duration of television watching and book reading. There were no significant differences between motor proficiency groups by gender, age, nonschool sports, or free-time activity. Multivariate ordinal logistic regression analysis showed that the case group was 10.9 times more likely to be overweight/obese than their peers. No single aspect of physical activity was able to explain the difference in odds ratios for the motor proficiency groups. However, for the entire cohort, children who participated in more organized school sports were less likely to be overweight/obese. These findings confirm that children with low motor proficiency are at significant risk of developing overweight. It is evident that these children have generally attenuated activity levels and heightened levels of sedentary pursuits. School-based activities appear particularly limited, and are the one area where children have near autonomy in their decision to pursue active opportunities. The promotion of school-based programs, specifically intramural sports may be an important aspect in increasing children's overall activity levels. It is also essential to consider the needs of those children with low motor proficiency when designing activity promotion programs. Future research should further explore motor proficiency and overweight/obesity.