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«THE RELATIONSHIP OF FUNDAMENTAL MOVEMENT SKILLS AND LEVEL OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IN SECOND GRADE CHILDREN by Oldemar Mazzardo Jr BS, Federal University ...»

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THE RELATIONSHIP OF FUNDAMENTAL MOVEMENT SKILLS AND LEVEL OF

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IN SECOND GRADE CHILDREN

by

Oldemar Mazzardo Jr

BS, Federal University of Parana, 1996

MS, University of Pittsburgh, 2004

Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of

School of Education in partial fulfillment

of the requirements for the degree of

Doctor of Philosophy

University of Pittsburgh

UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH

SCHOOL OF EDUCATION

This dissertation was presented by Oldemar Mazzardo Jr It was defended on March 18th, 2008 and approved by Carol E Baker, PhD, Associate Professor, Psychology in Education Deborah J Aaron, PhD, Associate Professor, Health and Physical Activity Donald Musa, PhD, Research Associate, University Center for Social & Urban Research Dissertation Advisor: Jere D Gallagher, PhD, Associate Professor, Health and Physical Activity ii

THE RELATIONSHIP OF FUNDAMENTAL MOVEMENT SKILLS AND LEVEL OF

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IN SECOND GRADE CHILDREN

Oldemar Mazzardo Jr, PhD University of Pittsburgh, 2008 Declines in physical activity (PA) and increases in obesity levels in children have prompted increasing interest in understanding children’s PA behavior. The mastery of fundamental movement skills (FMS) is a potential correlate of the involvement of children’s participation in PA as stated in the Surgeon General’s Report (1996) and in the Youth Physical Activity Promotion Model (Welk 1999). This research study investigated the relationship between FMS and PA in second grade children. It is hypothesized that a positive moderate correlation exists between FMS and PA. Body mass index (BMI) was tested as a moderator of the relationship of FMS and PA. The study investigated the associations among total FMS, manipulative skills, locomotor skills, habitual PA, organized PA, sedentary behavior, and BMI for males and females. To assess FMS a process-oriented technique was used. Mann-Whitney and t-tests were used to test for gender differences and Spearman correlations, and Hierarchical Regression analyses were used to test relationships. Gender differences were observed for total FMS, manipulative skills, and step count, therefore further analyses were conducted separately for males and females. The strength of the relationship of FMS and PA in second grade children in this study was gender and skill specific. Habitual PA was positively correlated with total FMS and manipulative skills for males. No significant correlations were found for females. The organized PA was positively correlated with total FMS for males and females and locomotor skills for females. BMI was not a moderator of the correlations of habitual PA and FMS. These results expanded previous research conducted with product-oriented FMS assessments in elementary school children. Results of this study are important for PE teachers and parents.

Physical education and physical activity intervention programs must target motor skill development, especially the manipulative skills, which appears to be needed for increasing children’s PA behavior.

–  –  –

PREFACE

1.0  INTRODUCTION

1.1  FACTORS INFLUENCING PA BEHAVIOR OF CHILDREN

1.1.1  Behavioral and Environmental Factors

1.1.2  Psychosocial and Demographic Factors

1.1.3  Genetic, Physiological and Developmental Factors

1.2  THE INTERACTION OF FACTORS AFFECTING PA IN CHILDREN......... 10 

1.3  PHYSICAL ACTIVITY ASSESSMENT ISSUES

1.3.1  Measuring the construct Physical Activity in children

1.3.2  Nature of children’s physical activity

1.3.3  Pedometers

1.3.4  Proxy-questionnaire

1.4  ASSESSMENT OF FUNDAMENTAL MOVEMENT SKILLS

1.4.1  Test of Gross Motor Skills (TGMD-2)

1.5  FMS IN CHILDREN’S PA RESEARCH

1.6  RESEARCH QUESTIONS

2.0  METHODS

2.1  DESIGN

–  –  –

2.3  DATA COLLECTION

2.3.1  Step count (Habitual PA)

2.3.1.1  Procedures

2.3.2  Proxy-questionnaire (Organized PA)

2.3.2.1  Procedures

2.3.3  Test of Gross Motor Skills

2.3.3.1  Equipment

2.3.3.2  Examiners Competence

2.3.3.3  Procedures

2.3.4  Body Mass Index measurements

2.3.4.1  Equipment

2.3.4.2  Procedures

2.4  DATA ANALYSIS

3.0  RESULTS

3.1  GENDER DIFFERENCES

3.2  FMS AND PA CORRELATIONS

3.3  BMI AS A MODERATOR OF THE RELATIONSHIP OF FMS AND PA........ 39 

4.0  DISCUSSION

4.1  GENDER DIFFERENCES

4.2  CORRELATIONS BETWEEN FMS AND PA

4.2.1  Habitual PA and FMS

4.2.2  Organized PA and FMS

–  –  –

AND BMI WITH PA AND FMS

4.4  METHODOLOGICAL LIMITATIONS AND FUTURE RESEARCH.............. 51 

4.5  FINAL CONSIDERATIONS

BIBLIOGRAPHY

APPENDIX A

APPENDIX B

APPENDIX C

APPENDIX D

–  –  –





Table 1. Gender Differences in FMS and Habitual PA (average steps/hour)

Table 2. Gender Differences in BMI, Organized PA, and Sedentary Activities

Table 3. Spearman Correlations Among PA, FMS, and BMI for males & females

Table 4. Interaction term (total FMS x BMI) as a predictor of Habitual PA

Table 5. Interaction term (Manipulative x BMI) as a predictor of Habitual PA

–  –  –

I would like to acknowledge many people for helping me during my doctoral work. I would especially like to thank my advisor, Jere Gallagher, for her generous time and commitment.

Throughout my doctoral work she encouraged me to develop independent thinking and research skills.

I am also very grateful for having an exceptional doctoral committee and wish to thank Carol Baker, Deborah Aaron, and Donald Musa.

I extend my thanks to my colleagues and friends, Fabio Fontana for helping me implementing the research and collecting data in IL, and Ovande Furtado for providing logistic support.

Finally, I would like to thank my wife, Adriana, for her patience and support throughout all these years.

This research was partially funded by the School of Education Student Grant.

This dissertation is dedicated to Deborah J Aaron, PhD. She was a role model and an example to be followed. Her dedication to students and commitment to teaching and research will continue to inspire me throughout my academic career.

–  –  –

The importance of encouraging physical activity (PA) behavior among children relies on the underlying assumption that the behavior will become part of the person’s life and continue into adulthood. Concerns about the abrupt declines in PA among adolescents (Malina 2001; Trudeau, Laurencelle, & Shephard, 2004) have prompted increasing interest in understanding PA behavior. The Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1996) pointed out the major correlates of PA during childhood. One of the Surgeon General’s (1996) 12 moderators of children’s PA behavior to increase general knowledge and promote the recommended changes in the PA behavior is sport competence. The mastery of fundamental movement skills (FMS), which are prerequisite to sport competence, seems to be a potential correlate of the involvement of children in physical activity. If FMS performance is indeed related to PA levels, then it is important to develop FMS at an early age to promote PA.

The development of motor skills was also incorporated into the Youth Physical Activity Promotion Model (Welk, 1999). Motor skill ability was highlighted as an enabling factor that provides the skills needed for to youth in order to be physically active. Youth who are skilled are more likely to be successful in PA and seek opportunities to be active, whereas children with poor motor skills are less likely to achieve the same level of success and therefore participation in PA. The Youth Physical Activity Promotion Model offers a guideline for the implementation of PA programs for kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school children. However, the factors incorporated in the model have not been fully investigated to account for developmental differences. Little is known about the correlation between motor skills and PA with elementary school aged children since the majority of the studies in this area have been done with older children and adolescents (McKenzie et al., 2002; Okely, Booth, & Patterson, 2001; Reed, Metzker, & Phillips, 2004; Wrotniak, Epstein, Dorn, Jones, & Kondilis, 2006). Furthermore, the existing research with elementary school children has used less comprehensive, non-validated instruments to assess PA and/or FMS (Beurden, Barnett, Zask, Dietrich, Brooks, & Beard, 2003;

Graf et al., 2004). Therefore the purpose of this research is to investigate the relationship between FMS and PA using validated instruments. The factors underlying children’s PA behavior and the assessment of children’s PA and FMS are discussed next.

–  –  –

Potential determinants of PA in childhood were examined in two reviews (Kohl & Hobbs 1998;

Sallis, Prochaska, & Taylor, 2000). Together they evaluated over 40 possible correlates of PA in children and examined over 110 research studies. Identifying the determinants of PA behavior in children is important in order to design effective intervention programs. The consistent correlates of PA in children were narrowed to a few, which are presented here with the classification proposed by Kohl and Hobbs. Significant associations were present on behavioral / environmental, psychosocial / demographic, and physiological / developmental variables.

1.1.1 Behavioral and Environmental Factors A number of significant correlates of children’s PA were found for the environmental and behavioral factors. Some of these environmental factors have been extensively studied allowing researchers to draw conclusions about the correlation between these variables and children’s PA behavior. According to Kohl and Hobbs (1998) and Sallis et al. (2000), consistent behavioral and environmental predictors of PA that have been strongly supported by research are (1) time spent outdoors, (2) access to facilities and programs, (3) healthy diet and (4) previous PA. An additional variable that has been studied is the amount of time spent on sedentary activities, although the reviews do not support the association between time spent on sedentary pursuits and children’s PA level.

The rationale underlying the concept that decreased opportunity for PA is correlated to sedentary pursuits is that sedentary behavior is thought to be a barrier for time spent outdoors.

Studies on children’s PA level have demonstrated that time spent outdoors is significantly higher for active children when compared to their inactive peers (Kohl & Hobbs, 1998). Since sedentary pursuits such as television viewing and video game playing reduce the opportunity to be outdoors, they also limit the opportunity for children to be active. Time spent outdoors has been demonstrated to be weak to moderately correlated to children’s PA level for preschool to secondary school age children (Baranowski, Thompson, DuRant, & Baranowski, 1993; Burdette, Whitaker, & Daniels, 2004). Time spent outdoors is worthy of future evaluation because of its association with environmental factors such as seasonality and safety of surroundings.

Time spent outdoors and consequently PA levels may be influenced by the season (Kohl & Hobbs, 1998). Children’s PA levels are highest in the summer and spring while they drop in the fall reaching the lowest level in the winter. However, seasonal variability in children’s PA level is not always observed (Ridgers, Stratton, Clark, Fairclough, & Richardson, 2006). In the climate of northwest England, no differences were found in children’s PA level during recess across seasons. Perhaps, PA level did not change because there was only a 9 degree Celsius variation in average temperature between summer and winter. Thus, the restriction in time spent outdoors appears to be dependent upon the intensity of the weather variability rather than the season.

Another reason restricting time spent outdoors is the lack of safety of surroundings. Lack of safety can reduce children’s motivation to be outside or be actual barriers of time spent outdoors by parental control. Fox and Riddoch (2000) indicated that between 1971 and 1990 fewer children walked or cycled to school, and fewer parents gave their children permission to play outdoors on their own. Weir, Etelson and Brand (2006) demonstrated the influence of parent’s perception of neighborhood safety and children’s physical activity in the New York City area. Inner city children engaged in less physical activity than suburban children. The children’s PA level was negatively associated with parental anxiety about neighborhood safety.

Neighborhood safety may not entirely explain the discrepancy in activity level between inner city and suburban children; nevertheless, it is a crucial component to increasing opportunities for PA. Along with safety, access to facilities and programs is another major environmental determinant of children’s PA level (Kohl & Hobbs, 1998; Sallis et al., 2000).

The access to recreational facilities in the neighborhood environment is positively associated with children’s PA level. Higher numbers of neighborhood parks and recreational facilities are associated with greater PA levels in young children (Roemmich, Epstein, Raja, Yin, Robinson, & Winiewicz, 2006). A child’s decision to play outside or stay at home depends, in part, on the available alternatives. Successful interventions demonstrated that increased children’s PA level may be also reached by making recreational areas in and out of school more appealing to children through structural remodeling (Zask, Beurden, Barnett, Brooks, & Dietrich, 2001; Stratton & Mullan, 2005). Promotion of friendly PA areas must be reinforced at the preschool level to increase children’s PA behavior at early age since previous PA is a correlate of children’s PA behavior.



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