PURPOSE: Recent literature suggests that anthropometric measures are correlates of gross motor competence in children. The purpose of this study was to determine if body mass index (BMI) or waist circumference (WC) are associated with children’s scores on the Canadian Agility and Movement Skill Assessment (CAMSA).
METHODS: Children aged 8-12 years (n = 7,773), with parental consent, from 7 Canadian provinces had their physical literacy level measured using the Canadian Assessment of Physical Literacy (CAPL). CAPL testing was completed between 2012-2016 and administered by trained research staff. As part of the CAPL tests, movement competence was measured using the CAMSA which evaluates fundamental, combined, and complex movement and motor skills. Children were scored on time to complete the CAMSA (range 1-14 points) and ability to demonstrate the movement skill criteria (range 0-14 points) for a combined score out of 28, with the best of two trials used for analyses. BMI was calculated from measured height and weight and converted to BMI z-score using the World Health Organization’s (WHO) BMI-for-age charts and formulae based on the LMS method. WC was measured in duplicate using an elastic tape measure at the level of the iliac crest and recorded in centimeters, with the average of the two measures used for analyses. Children were grouped for analysis based on those meeting (≥ -2.0 to ≤ 1.0) and not meeting (< -2.0 or > 1.0) the WHO’s recommended level of BMI z-score. Separate multiple linear regression models were used to predict CAMSA score for BMI z-score and WC, with both models adjusting for age and sex.
RESULTS: The difference in CAMSA scores between BMI z-score groups was significant (p < 0.001, Cohen’s d = 0.3). In the BMI z-score model, results of the regression (F [3,7455] = 353, p <0.0001, R2 = 0.12) indicated that CAMSA scores were lower by 0.3 units for every 1 unit increase in BMI z-score. In the WC model, results of the regression (F [3,7455] = 402.2, p <0.0001, R2 = 0.14) found lower CAMSA scores of 0.1 units for each 1 centimeter increase in WC. Age and sex were strongly associated with CAMSA score in both models, as expected.
CONCLUSIONS: These results align with previously reported findings suggesting that anthropometric measures have a moderate relationship with children’s performance on movement competence assessments.