Associations of Body Mass Index, Motor Performance, and Perceived Athletic Competence with Physical Activity in Normal Weight and Overweight Children Academic Article uri icon

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  • Children who are overweight and obese display lower physical activity levels than normal weight peers. Measures of weight status, perceived motor competence, and motor skill performance have been identified as potential correlates explaining this discrepancy. 1881 children (955 males; 926 females; 9.9 years) were assessed as part of the Physical Health Activity Study Team project. The age, habitual physical activity participation (PAP), body mass index (BMI), socioeconomic status (SES), motor performance (MP), and perceived athletic competence (PAC) of each child included were assessed. Gender-specific linear regression analyses (main effects model) were conducted to identify the percent variance in PAP explained by the following variables: BMI, MP, and PAC. For males, 18.3% of the variance in PAP was explained by BMI, MP, and PAC. PAC explained 17% of the variance, while MP, BMI, and SES only accounted for 0.6%, 0.7%, and 0.5%, respectively. PAC explained 17.5% of PAP variance in females; MP explained 0.8%. BMI, SES, and chronological age were not significant correlates of PAP in girls. An established repertoire of motor skill performance has been seen as a vehicle to PAP in children; however, this study indicates that PAC should not be overlooked in intervention strategies to promote increased PAP.


  • Morrison, Kyle M
  • Cairney, John
  • Eisenmann, Joe
  • Pfeiffer, Karin
  • Gould, Dan

publication date

  • 2018