Adiposity, physical activity and neuromuscular performance in children

J Sports Sci. 2016 Sep;34(18):1699-706. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2015.1134805. Epub 2016 Jan 6.


We investigated the associations of body fat percentage (BF%), objectively assessed moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and different types of physical activity assessed by a questionnaire with neuromuscular performance. The participants were 404 children aged 6-8 years. BF% was assessed using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry and physical activity by combined heart rate and movement sensing and a questionnaire. The results of 50-m shuttle run, 15-m sprint run, hand grip strength, standing long jump, sit-up, modified flamingo balance, box-and-block and sit-and-reach tests were used as measures of neuromuscular performance. Children who had a combination of higher BF% and lower levels of physical activity had the poorest performance in 50-m shuttle run, 15-m sprint run and standing long jump tests. Higher BF% was associated with slower 50-m shuttle run and 15-m sprint times, shorter distance jumped in standing long jump test, fewer sit-ups, more errors in balance test and less cubes moved in box-and-block test. Higher levels of physical activity and particularly MVPA assessed objectively by combined accelerometer and heart rate monitor were related to shorter 50-m shuttle run and 15-m sprint times. In conclusion, higher BF% and lower levels of physical activity and particularly the combination of these two factors were associated with worse neuromuscular performance.

Keywords: Adiposity; DXA; children; physical activity; physical fitness.

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Adiposity / physiology*
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Child
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Test
  • Hand Strength
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Skills
  • Movement
  • Muscle Strength
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Postural Balance
  • Running
  • Surveys and Questionnaires