Recent evidence suggests that motor competence may be related to a number of health related fitness variables. It is probable that fitness outcomes worsen as motor incompetence increases. Measures of abdominal muscles endurance, upper and lower body muscles strength, hip flexibility, cardiovascular endurance and body composition were compared among 1535 13-year-olds who were grouped according to their level of motor competence [very low (boys = 32, girls = 30), low (boys = 151, girls = 144), average (boys = 436, girls = 446) and high (boys = 176, girls = 120)]. The groupings were based on their motor scores obtained from the MAND. Analyses of variance were conducted to explore the impact of sex and motor competence on each fitness variable. Results revealed significant main effects for motor competence and sex for abdominal muscle endurance (p< .001), leg strength (p< .001), upper body strength (p<.001), hip flexibility (p<.001) and cardiovascular endurance (p<.001). Body composition was significantly different between motor competence groups (p< .001) but not between males and females. For motor competence the differences were all in the predicted direction with the very low motor competence group having the poorer outcomes across all measures. For sex, males outperformed females in all measures except hip flexibility. There was a significant interaction effect for upper body strength [F(3, 1527) = 9.69, p = .00] and lower body strength [ F(3, 1527) = 2.91, p = .03]. For these strength variables, motor competence had a greater impact on the boys’ performance than the girls. Overall, adolescents with motor difficulties were less fit across a range of variables than their typically developing peers. As the severity of motor impairment increased performance outcomes on a number of health related fitness variables reduced. These findings confirm the impact of motor incompetence on physical health and add to the growing evidence of poorer long term health outcomes.
Hands, B., Larkin, D., Rose, E., & Parker, H. (2007). The impact of sex and motor competence on health related fitness. Paper presented at the 16th International Symposium of Adapted Physical Activity. Sao Paulo University, Rio Claro, Brazil, 24-28 July.