The purpose of this study was to investigate reciprocal relationships among students' motor competence (MC) (leaping, throwing, catching, jumping skills), perceived physical competence, health-related fitness (HRF) (20 m shuttle run, push-up, abdominal muscles endurance tests) and objectively measured moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Participants included 422 Grade 5 Finnish children (246 girls). Two separate structural equation models investigated paths (a) from MC through both perceived physical competence and HRF to MVPA, and (b) from MVPA through both perceived physical competence and HRF to MC. Model 1 demonstrated an indirect path from MC through HRF to MVPA and a direct path from MC to perceived physical competence for both boys and girls. Additionally, model 1 revealed a direct path from perceived physical competence to MVPA for the girls and from MC to MVPA for the boys. MC, perceived physical competence, and HRF explained 13% of variance in MVPA for the girls and 25% for the boys. Model 2 indicated indirect paths from MVPA through perceived physical competence to MC and from MVPA through HRF to MC for both boys and girls. Additionally, a direct path from MVPA to MC was found in the boys' group. MVPA, perceived physical competence, and HRF explained 48% of variance in MC for the girls and 53% for the boys. Results of this study provide preliminary support for the reciprocal nature of relationships among MC development, perceived physical competence, HRF and MVPA.
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