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Motor Proficiency, Strength, Endurance, and Physical Activity Among Middle School Children Who Are Healthy, Overweight, and Obese

Nunez-Gaunaurd, Annabel MSPT, PhD; Moore, James G. PT, PhD; Roach, Kathryn E. PT, PhD; Miller, Tracie L. MD; Kirk-Sanchez, Neva J. PT, PhD

doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e318287caa3
Research Article

Purpose: To compare motor proficiency, strength, endurance, and physical activity among children from minority backgrounds who were healthy weight (HW), overweight (OW), or obese (OB).

Methods: Eighty-six children, aged 10 to 15 years, of mostly Hispanic ethnicity, participated. Children were categorized according to body mass index-for-age percentile. Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency (BOT2) Short Form, Sit-to-Stand (STS), Timed Up and Down Stairs, and 6-Minute Walk Test (6MWT) were administered. Physical activity was measured by using activity monitors.

Results: Forty-five percent of children were classified as OW/OB. Children who were OB had lower mean BOT2, STS, and 6MWT performance than children of HW. Among children who were OW/OB, daily mean steps were lower and sedentary minutes higher than children of HW. In children who were OW/OB, body mass index was negatively correlated with BOT2, STS, and abdominal curls.

Conclusion: Children who are OB demonstrate greater impairments in motor proficiency, strength, and endurance and participate in less physical activity than peers of HW.

Middle-school age children who were overweight or obese were found to have lower physical activity levels, motor proficiency, strength, and endurance than peers of healthy weight.

Department of Physical Therapy (Drs Nunez-Gaunaurd, Moore, Roach, and Kirk-Sanchez), Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida; Departments of Pediatrics and Epidemiology and Public Health (Dr Miller), Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, Florida.

Correspondence: Annabel Nunez-Gaunaurd, MSPT, PhD, Department of Physical Therapy, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, 5915 Ponce de Leon Blvd, 5th Floor, Coral Gables, FL 33146 (

Grant Support: This study was supported by the American Physical Therapy Association, Section of Pediatrics and iTrace Foundation Inc.

This research was conducted in partial fulfillment of a doctor of philosophy degree in physical therapy awarded to Annabel Nunez-Gaunaurd by the Department of Physical Therapy, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.