Profiling Movement and Gait Quality Characteristics in Pre-School Children

Cain C.T. Clark, Claire M. Barnes, Nils J. Swindell, Mark D. Holton, Daniel D. Bingham, Paul J. Collings, Sally E. Barber, Huw D. Summers, Kelly A. Mackintosh, Gareth Stratton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
80 Downloads (Pure)


There is a dearth of suitable metrics capable of objectively quantifying motor competence. Further, objective movement quality characteristics during free play have not been investigated in pre-school children. The aims of this study were to characterize children's free play physical activity and investigate how gait quality characteristics cluster with free play in pre-school children (3–5 years old). Sixty-one children (39 boys; 4.3 ± 0.7 years, 1.04 ± 0.05 m, 17.8 ± 3.2 kg) completed the movement assessment battery for children and took part in free play while wearing an ankle- and hip-mounted accelerometer. Characteristics of movement quality were profiled using a clustering algorithm. Spearman's rho and the Mann-Whitney U tests were used to assess relationships between movement quality characteristics and motor competence classification differences in integrated acceleration and spectral purity, respectively. Significant differences were found between motor competency classifications for spectral purity and integrated acceleration (p <.001). Spectral purity was hierarchically clustered with motor competence and integrated acceleration. Significant positive correlations were found between spectral purity, integrated acceleration and motor competence (p <.001). This is the first study to report spectral purity in pre-school children and the results suggest that the underlying frequency component of movement is clustered with motor competence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-565
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Motor Behavior
Issue number5
Early online date6 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sept 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Motor Behavior on 06/10/2017, available online:

Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


  • Accelerometer
  • clustergram
  • motor competence
  • spectral purity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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