UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The relationship between fundamental movement skills and the health and fitness of Canadian children Horita, Leslie Tomiko Leigh


The health and fitness status of Canadian children has been declining over the past several decades. Children’s health and fitness impacts future health status as many health and fitness indicators track from youth into adulthood and are associated with serious illnesses such as cardiovascular disease (CVD). One potential determining factor of health and fitness may be the level of proficiency exhibited in performing fundamental movement skills (FMS). Failure to master FMS in childhood may decrease the physical activity options available in adulthood because FMS provide a foundation for all forms of physical activity pursuits necessary for health and fitness benefits. Todate, the relationship between health, fitness and proficiency of FMS has not been examined in Canadian children. Therefore, the purpose of the present investigation was to examine the current state of movement skill proficiency in relation to health and fitness in Canadian elementary-aged children. Boys (n = 71) and girls (n = 91 girls) ages 8 to 11 years were recruited from schools participating in the evaluation component of the Action Schools! BC program. Measures of fundamental movement skill proficiency (i.e., running, horizontal jumping, vertical jumping, jumping from a height, hopping, and skipping) and indicators of health and fitness (i.e., blood pressure, arterial compliance, weight status, musculoskeletal and cardiovascular fitness) were assessed. Results indicated low levels of FMS proficiency for both boys and girls. Analysis also revealed significant relationships between EMS and indicators of health and fitness. Correlation analyses found running and hopping to be significantly (p < .01) related to musculoskeletal and cardiorespiratory fitness tests. Significant (p < .01) relationships between vertical jumping and weight status, musculoskeletal and cardiorespiratory fitness were also found by the correlation analyses. Regression analyses were performed to determine the independent relationship between health and fitness indicators. Vertical jump was significantly (p < .01) related to blood pressure (BP) independent of confounding health and fitness variables. Finding significant relationships between FMS proficiencies and health and fitness indicators coupled with the low proficiencies demonstrated by our sample of children suggest the need for a greater emphasis on the development of FMS.

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