Association between moderate and vigorous physical activity and gross motor coordination in preschool children

Sandra Santos, Amanda Santos, Michael Duncan, Susana Vale, Jorge Mota

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Introduction: Adequate gross motor coordination is essential for children participating in age-related physical activities and has an important role in maintaining sufficient physical activity levels during the life course Aim: To examine the association between moderate and vigorous physical activity and gross motor coordination in early infancy (ages 3–6). Methods The sample comprised 209 children aged 3–6 years. Gross motor coordination was assessed according to the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (MABC-2). The battery to assess gross motor coordination comprised the aiming & catching and balance components. Moderate and vigorous physical activity was measured by accelerometery worn for 7 consecutive days (Monday to Sunday). Results: Our data indicated that 31.3% of the sample had low, 32.3% medium and 36.0% high gross motor coordination. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that moderate and vigorous physical activity was positively associated with gross motor coordination, adjusted for gender and sedentary behavior. Conclusions: Preschoolers with high gross motor coordination spend more time in moderate and vigorous physical activity. Gross motor coordination development should therefore be a key strategy in childhood interventions aiming to promote long-term physical activity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-285
JournalJournal of Motor Learning and Development
Issue number2
Early online date2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019



  • Preschoolers
  • gross motor coordination
  • moderate vigorous physical activity
  • accelerometer

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