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School Physical Activity Programming and Gross Motor Skills in Children

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Objective: We examined the effect of a comprehensive school physical activity program (CSPAP) on gross motor skills in children. Methods: Participants were 959 children (1st-6th grade; Mean age = 9.1 ± 1.5 years; 406 girls, 553 boys) recruited from 5 low-income schools receiving a year-long CSPAP intervention. Data were collected at the beginning of the school year and at a 36-week follow-up. Gross motor skills were assessed using the Test for Gross Motor Development (3rd ed.) (TGMD-3) instrument. Multi-level mixed effects models were employed to examine the effect of CSPAP on TGMD-3 scores, testing age and sex as effect modifiers and adjusting for clustering of observations within the data structure. Results: There were statistically significant coefficients for time (β = 8.1, 95% CI [3.9, 12.3], p < .001) and an age × time interaction (β = -1.7, 95% CI [-2.3, -1.1], p < .001) on TGMD-3 total scores. Significant improvements were also seen for locomotor skills and ball skills sub-test scores. Conclusions: Children showed improved gross motor skill scores at the end of the 36-week CSPAP that were modified by age, as younger children displayed greater improvements in TGMD-3 scores compared to older children.
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Keywords: CHILDREN; MOTOR SKILLS; PHYSICAL ACTIVITY; SCHOOLS; TGMD-3

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Recreation, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT;, Email: [email protected] 2: Assistant Professor, School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nevada Reno, Reno, NV 3: Dean and Professor, College of Education, Health, and Human Services, Kent State University, Kent, OH 4: Associate Professor, Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Recreation, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

Publication date: 01 September 2017

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

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