Dynamic relationships between motor skill competence and health-related fitness in youth

David F. Stodden, Zan Gao, Jacqueline D. Goodway, Stephen J. Langendorfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


This cross-sectional study examined associations among motor skill competence (MSC) and health-related fitness (HRF) in youth. A convenient sample of 253 boys and 203 girls (aged 4-13 years) participated in the study. Associations among measures of MSC (throwing and kicking speed and standing long jump distance) and acomposite measure of HRF (push-ups, curl-ups, grip strength and PACER test) across five age groups (4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11 and 12-13 yrs.) were assessed using hierarchical regression modeling. When including all children, throwing and jumping were significantly associated with the composite HRF factor for both boys and girls (throw, t = 5.33; jump, t = 4.49) beyond the significant age effect (t = 4.98) with kicking approaching significance (t = 1.73, p = .08). Associations between throwing and kicking speed an HRF appeared to increase from early to middle to late childhood age ranges. Associations between jumping and HRF were variable across age groups. These results support the notion that the relationship between MSC and HRF performance are dynamic and may change across childhood. These data suggest that the development of object control skills in childhood may be important for the development and maintenance of HRF across childhood and into adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-241
Number of pages11
JournalPediatric exercise science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2014


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