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Skeletal Maturation, Body Size, and Motor Coordination in Youth 11–14 Years


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: June 2016 - Volume 48 - Issue 6 - p 1129–1135
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000873
Applied Sciences

Purpose The objective of this study is to estimate the relative contribution of biological maturation to variance in the motor coordination (MC) among youth and to explore gender differences in the associations.

Methods Skeletal maturation (Tanner-Whitehouse 3), stature, body mass, and MC (Körperkoordinationstest für Kinder) were assessed in 613 youths, 284 boys and 329 girls 11–14 yr of age. Standardized residuals of skeletal age on chronological age were used as the estimate of skeletal maturity status independent of chronological age. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were used to analyse associations between skeletal maturity status and MC.

Results Skeletal maturity status by itself, i.e., standardized residuals of skeletal age on chronological age (step 3) explained a maximum of 8.1% of the variance in MC in boys (ΔR32 in the range of 0.0%–8.1%) and 2.8% of the variance in girls (ΔR32 in the range of 0.0%–2.8%), after controlling for stature, body mass and interactions of the standardized residuals of skeletal age on chronological age with stature and body mass. Corresponding percentages for the interactions of the standardized residuals of skeletal age and stature and body mass, after adjusting for stature and body mass (step 2) were 8.7% in boys (ΔR22 in the range of 0.3%–8.7%) and 7.1% in girls (ΔR22 in the range of 0.1%–7.1%). Chow tests suggested structural changes in β-coefficients in the four MC tests among boys and girls, 12–13 yr.

Conclusion The percentage of variance in the four MC tests explained by skeletal maturation was relatively small, but the relationships differed between boys and girls. By inference, other factors, e.g., neuromuscular maturation, specific instruction and practice, sport participation, and others may influence MC at these ages.

1Department of Physical Education and Sport, University of Madeira, Funchal, PORTUGAL; 2Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester, England, UNITED KINGDOM; 3CIFI2D, Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Porto, PORTUGAL; 4Department of Kinesiology, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, BELGIUM; and 5Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, University of Texas, Austin, TX

Address for correspondence: José António Ribeiro Maia, Ph.D., Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Rua Dr. Plácido da Costa 91, 4200-450 Porto, Portugal; E-mail:

Submitted for publication September 2015.

Accepted for publication January 2016.

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© 2016 American College of Sports Medicine