Purpose: To investigate the relationship between obesity and gross motor development in children who are developing typically and determine whether body mass index (BMI) predicts difficulty in gross motor skills.
Methods: BMIs were calculated and gross motor skills examined in 50 children who were healthy aged 3 to 5 years using the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales, 2nd edition (PDMS-2). Pearson chi-square statistic and stepwise linear hierarchical regression were used for analysis.
Results: A total of 24% of the children were overweight/obese, whereas 76% were found not to be overweight/obese. Fifty-eight percent of the overweight/obese group scored below average on the PDMS-2 compared to 15% of the nonoverweight group. Association between BMI and gross motor quotients was identified with significance of less than 0.002. Regression results were nonsignificant with all 50 subjects, yet showed significance (P = 0.018) when an outlier was excluded.
Conclusions: Children aged 3 to 5 years with high BMIs may have difficulty with their gross motor skills. Further research is needed.