Relationship between the body composition and motor and physical competence of Grade 1 learners in South Africa

J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2013 Dec;53(6):635-43.


Aim: The objective of this study was to determine relationships between body composition and motor and physical competence of Grade 1 learners living in the North West Province of South Africa.

Methods: Data were collected by means of a stratified random sampling procedure from 816 Grade 1 learners (419 boys, 397 girls) with a mean age of 6.84 years (+ 0.39 SD), in the NW-CHILD-study. Height, weight, skinfolds (subscapular, triceps, calf) and waist circumference were measured. International cut-off values were used to classify the subjects in normal, overweight or obese categories. Motor and physical competence was measured by using the Bruiniks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency-2 SF and the Test of Gross Motor Development 2.

Results: One out of 10 learners were overweight or obese. Fine motor precision, balance, running speed and agility and strength correlated significantly with BMI with no clear relationships with object control skills and upper limb-coordination.

Conclusion: A clear relationship was found between body composition and most of the motor and physical fitness competencies of Grade 1 learners. Intervention strategies to improve the body composition of overweight children and accompanying motor proficiency back logs and physical fitness deficiencies are recommended.

MeSH terms

  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • South Africa
  • Students*