Preschool children are recommended to participate in a minimum of 180-min physical activity (PA) per day to enhance their development and overall health. Low PA and increased obesity are thought to be linked to low mastery of fundamental movement skills (FMS) in preschool children. This study sought to investigate whether FMS influences PA levels and weight status in preschool children, in an area of low socioeconomic status. Secondary aims of this study were to determine whether gender or day of the week affected the primary outcomes. One hundred eighty-five preschool children aged 3–4 years old, participated in the study. FMS proficiency was determined using the Test of Gross Motor Development-2. PA was determined using triaxial accelerometry over a 4-day period. None of the samples met the recommended 180 min of PA. There were no significant differences in PA or weight status between preschool children with high, medium or low FMS mastery (P < 0.05). There were also no significant correlations between overall FMS and moderate to vigorous PA during the week or weekend days. Conclusion: Girls scored significantly greater at the hop, leap, and skip (locomotor skills) and the boys significantly higher at the kick (object control) (P < 0.05). There were no significant differences in PA or weight status between preschool children with high, medium, or low FMS mastery, possibly because FMS mastery had not developed to a high enough level to affect PA and FMS are considered independent of physical fitness and physical features, such as weight and height.What is Known:•FMS are commonly developed in early childhood, providing the building blocks for future motor skills, good health and lifelong PA.•No study to date has measured FMS, PA levels and weight status in preschool children, to determine whether FMS competency influences PA levels and weight status in preschool children, in an area of low SES.What is New:•FMS competency did not appear to influence the level of PA or weight status in this sample of UK preschool children from a low SES area.•PA and FMS may not be fully established and consequently not strongly linked at the ages of 3–4 years, therefore, the preschool years could be influential in providing a window to maximise input of good/optimal development of motor competence before the proficiency barrier sets in and we need remedial intervention.
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- Fundamental movement skills
- GENEActiv Accelerometer
- Physical activity
- Preschool children
- Test of Gross Motor Development-2
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health