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PEDIATRIC ORIGINAL ARTICLE
A longitudinal analysis of gross motor coordination in overweight and obese children versus normal-weight peers
E D’Hondt1,2, B Deforche1,2, I Gentier1,3, I De Bourdeaudhuij1, R Vaeyens1, R Philippaerts1 and M Lenoir1 BACKGROUND: The relationship of childhood overweight (OW) and obesity (OB) with motor skill and coordination is gaining due attention; however, longitudinal evidence is currently lacking. OBJECTIVE: The dual purpose of this study was (1) to investigate the short-term evolution in the level of gross motor coordination according to children’s weight status, and (2) to identify those factors predicting their gross motor coordination performance over a 2-year interval.
SUBJECTS: Participants were 50 children with OW, including 8 with OB (aged 6–10 years at baseline, with 52% boys), and 50 with normal-weight (NW) matched for gender and age.
MEASUREMENTS: Anthropometrics (body height, body weight, body mass index (BMI), %body fat) and level of gross motor ¨
coordination (Korperkoordinationstest fur Kinder, KTK) were assessed in 2007 (baseline) and 2 years later in 2009 (follow-up). ¨
At baseline, participants completed a survey based on the Flemish Physical Activity Questionnaire (FPAQ) to obtain sociodemographic information and to determine physical activity levels in diverse domains. RESULTS: The evolution in the level of gross motor coordination over time was strongly related to children’s weight status. Participants in the NW group showed more progress than their OW/OB peers, who demonstrated signiﬁcantly poorer performances. Accordingly, between-group differences in KTK outcomes (that is, raw item scores and total motor quotient) became more evident over time. Multiple linear regression analysis further indicated that, in addition to BMI per se (negative predictor), participation in organized sports within a sports club (positive predictor) determines gross motor coordination performance(s) 2 years later.
CONCLUSION: Our results provide conclusive evidence for an increasingly widening gap of OW/OB children’s gross motor coordination relative to NW peers across developmental time in the absence of targeted initiatives. Special attention is thus needed for OW/OB children, especially for those not practicing sports in a club environment, in terms of motor skill improvement to promote regular participation in physical activity.
International Journal of Obesity (2013) 37, 61–67; doi:10.1038/ijo.2012.55; published online 17 April 2012 Keywords: body mass index; children; longitudinal study; gross motor skills; overweight
In the past decade, research on the relationship between excess body weight or fatness and the level of motor competence in
children has become increasingly important.1,2 Motor competence refers to the degree of skilled performance in a wide range of motor tasks as well as the movement coordination and control underlying a particular motor outcome.3,4 An adequate level of motor skill is not only considered a key factor in children’s general development but also the foundation for an active lifestyle.5,6 Only recently, it has been demonstrated that motor skill and coordination indeed act as a predictor of consequent physical activity participation in children.7,8 As physical activity is a central component in both prevention and treatment of childhood
overweight (OW) and obesity (OB),9,10 which has become a
global epidemic,11 the gradually increased focus on motor
competence levels in OW and OB children appears to be justiﬁed. The studies conducted to date consistently report low to
moderate negative correlations and therefore an inverse relationship between body mass index (BMI) and motor skill performance
in childhood and early adolescence.4,12–15 Based on different ﬁeld-based tests, several authors...