Fundamental movement skills and habitual physical activity in young children

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2005 Apr;37(4):684-8. doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000159138.48107.7d.


Purpose: To test for relationships between objectively measured habitual physical activity and fundamental movement skills in a relatively large and representative sample of preschool children.

Methods: Physical activity was measured over 6 d using the Computer Science and Applications (CSA) accelerometer in 394 boys and girls (mean age 4.2, SD 0.5 yr). Children were scored on 15 fundamental movement skills, based on the Movement Assessment Battery, by a single observer.

Results: Total physical activity (r=0.10, P<0.05) and percent time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) (r=0.18, P<0.001) were significantly correlated with total movement skills score. Time spent in light-intensity physical activity was not significantly correlated with motor skills score (r=0.02, P>0.05).

Conclusions: In this sample and setting, fundamental movement skills were significantly associated with habitual physical activity, but the association between the two variables was weak. The present study questions whether the widely assumed relationships between motor skills and habitual physical activity actually exist in young children.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Habits
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric