PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine what kind of physical activity would have a positive relationship with motor skills in children through secondary data analysis.
METHODS: Data from children 3-5 years old (N=352, 179 males) who participated in the National Youth Fitness Survey (2012) were used. Included in this study were demographics, anthropometrics, physical activity questionnaire by parent report, and motor skill score determined by Test of Gross Motor Development-2nd Edition. Multiple regression was conducted to examine the relationship between physical activity and motor skills controlling for sex, race, and parent’s socioeconomic status.
RESULTS: The most commonly reported activities were running (43%), playing outdoor games (35%), and riding a bike (34%). Motor skills standard scores were locomotor (Mean (SE)=(9.99 (.16)), object control (Mean (SE)=8.52 (0.14)), and gross motor skill (Mean (SE)=95.57 (.68)). Participation in the following activities were positively related to gross motor skill score: riding a bike (β (SE)=5.27 (2.02), p=0.02), scooter riding (β (SE)=9.83 (2.59), p=0.002), swimming (β (SE)=4.01 (1.17), p=0.004), and jumping on a trampoline (β (SE) = 7.45 (3.09), p=0.03). With the exception of riding a bike the activities positively related to gross motor skill score had a reported range of participation between 7-12%.
CONCLUSIONS: The key findings of this study indicated that participation in specific physical activities were related to gross motor skill score in preschool aged children. Further, it showed that with the exception of riding a bike the activities that the children participated in the most were not the same as those activities that were positively related to their gross motor skill score.