Investigating the association between motor proficiency and body satisfaction in grade 5 children
Del Ben, Megan.
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The inverse relationships between motor proficiency and overweight, and between overweight and body satisfaction have been well documented. However, the association between motor proficiency and body satisfaction has been largely neglected in the literature. Knowledge of the influence that low motor proficiency may have on body satisfaction is essential if the full burden that those children with poor motor abilities face is to be fully recognized, as low body satisfaction has been linked to an increased risk for low self-esteem, depression, and disordered eating. The cohort investigated in this report included 1907 (971 males, 936 female) Grade 5 students from the Physical Health Activity Study Team (PHAST) project in the Niagara Region of Southern Ontario. Children were grouped as overweight or healthy weight (using BMI cut offs for age and gender), and as low motor proficiency or normal motor proficiency (cut-off set at lowest 10% Bruininks Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency-short form (BOTMPsf). It was apparent from analyses of variance (ANOVAs) by gender that boys demonstrated significantly higher motor proficiency scores. As a result separate multiple logistic regressions by gender were used to determine the relationship between body satisfaction, BMI, and motor proficiency. There was a significant relationship between BMI and body satisfaction for both genders (p<0.01) and for males a significant relationship between motor proficiency and body satisfaction (p<0.03). Overweight females were less likely to be satisfied with their bodies with an odds ratio (OR) of 0.33 (CI: 0.23-0.47). The same trend was found in overweight males (OR: 0.42, CI: 0.29-0.59). Males with low motor proficiency were significantly less satisfied with their bodies (OR: 0.53, CI: 0.29-0.97). Males with poor motor proficiency were at greater risk for low body satisfaction regardless of their overweight status. Overweight is known to be prevalent among children with low motor proficiency and, these results indicate that low body satisfaction is also a significant concern. These findings confirm that attention needs to be paid to perceptions of body satisfaction among children with low motor proficiency. This is particularly true for boys, as their bodies may fail them in two common societal expectations, shape and skill and for whom their risk of low body satisfaction is heightened by their poor motor proficiency.