Original Research

Relationships between moderate vigorous physical activity, motor- and health-related fitness and motor skills in children

Carli Gericke, Anita E. Pienaar, Barry Gerber, Makama A. Monyeki
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 16, No 1 | a4258 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v16i1.4258 | © 2024 Carli Gericke, Anita E. Pienaar, Barry Gerber, Makama A. Monyeki | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 August 2023 | Published: 20 May 2024

About the author(s)

Carli Gericke, Physical Activity, Sport and Recreation (PhASRec), Faculty of Health Science, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Anita E. Pienaar, Physical Activity, Sport and Recreation (PhASRec), Faculty of Health Science, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Barry Gerber, School of Human Movement Sciences, Faculty of Health Science, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Makama A. Monyeki, Physical Activity, Sport and Recreation (PhASRec), Faculty of Health Science, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Childhood is an important transitional period for the development of healthy physical activity (PA) behaviours, so it is important to understand its impact on a healthy lifestyle.

Aim: This study aimed to determine the influences of sex, socioeconomic status (SES) and body composition (BC) on the relationships between PA, motor skills, motor- and health-related physical fitness in 5–8-year-olds.

Setting: Participants were a subsample consisting of 299 children (150 boys, 149 girls, mean age 6.83 ± 0.96 years) from the Exercise, Arterial Modulation and Nutrition in Youth South Africa study (ExAMIN Youth SA).

Methods: Anthropometric measures, health-related physical fitness (HRPF), motor-related physical fitness (MRPF), objectively measured PA and demographic information were determined.

Results: Only 66% achieved the recommended 60 min of daily moderate vigorous physical activity (MVPA) with 19% classified as having unhealthy body composition (11% overweight, 8% obese). Fat-free mass and SES revealed small-to-moderate influences on the relationship between MVPA, standing broad jump (SBJ; r = 0.32), predicted VO2max (r = 0.28) and beep levels (r = 0.22). For MRPF, the quality of running (r = 0.12) and balancing were associated with MVPA. Adjusting for sex, BC and SES in the relationship between PA with HRPF and MRPF, reductions in most correlations were observed.

Conclusion: Moderate vigorous physical activity levels were positively associated with HRPF, MRPF and some motor skills in 5–8-year-olds. Socioeconomic status (lower parental income, employment and education negatively influenced the association between MVPA and fitness [beeps, SBJ, O2max]).

Contribution: This study provides knowledge with regard to the use of accelerometer for baseline data for PA, MRPF, HRPF as well as motor skills in South African children.


Keywords

children; health-related physical fitness; motor skills; physical activity; socioeconomic status.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

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