Longitudinal association of movement behaviour and motor competence in childhood: A structural equation model, compositional, and isotemporal substitution analysis

Isaac Estevan, Cain Clark, Javier Molina-García, Cristina Menescardi, Victoria Barton, Ana Queralt

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)
    27 Downloads (Pure)


    Objectives: The aim of this study was to analyse the association between physical activity and motor competence in primary school children using traditional and compositional data analysis approaches over time (time 1 and time 2). 

    Design: A longitudinal observational design was used to study 124 typically developed children (45.2% girls), 5–10 years old at baseline. 

    Methods: Children's objectively measured physical activity and sedentary behaviour, actual and perceived motor competence were assessed at two time points, one year apart. Longitudinal association of movement behaviors with actual and perceived motor competence, in locomotion, ball skills and overall motor competence was explored using structural equation models, compositional analysis, and isotemporal substitution. 

    Results: When adjusted for sex, age, and body mass index, structural equation models and the composition consistently predicted actual and perceived motor competence at time 1 and time 2 (p < 0.01). Reallocation of 10 min from sedentary to light, or to moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, was associated with changes in actual motor competence, which was consistent from time 1 to time 2. Additionally, regarding self-perception, in time 1, isotemporal substitution of sedentary to light physical activity was the only reallocation associated with increases in perceived motor competence. In time 2, however, such positive associations were only found when reallocating time from sedentary or light to moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. 

    Conclusions: Achieving adequate levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, at the expense of sedentary and light physical activity, is associated with increases of actual and perceived motor competence over time.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)661-666
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
    Issue number8
    Early online date24 May 2022
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

    Bibliographical note

    Crown Copyright © 2022 Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of Sports Medicine Australia. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license


    Funding Information: This study has been supported by the University of Valencia (grant number UV-INV-AE16-471273 ).


    • Children
    • Compositional analysis
    • Fundamental motor skills
    • Motor development
    • Physical activity
    • Self-perception

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
    • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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