The three-way interplay of motor coordination, body fatness and physical activity in adolescents: a preliminary study

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Study aim: The purposes of this study were to analyze: the influence of physical activity level on the association between motor coordination and body fatness; the influence of body fatness on the association between motor coordination and physical activity; and how much physical activity and body fatness, separately and together, explain motor coordination in adolescent boys.

Material and methods: Fifty-one boys (n = 51), aged between 12 and 14 years, participated in the study. Motor coordination and physical activity and body fat percentage were assessed with, respectively, the Körperkoordinationstest für Kinder (KTK) and a validated self-administered questionnaire (PAQ-C). Skinfold thickness was measured to assess the participant’s body fat percentage. The Kruskal-Wallis test was performed to compare levels of motor coordination, physical activity, and body fat according to age (12, 13, 14 years). Bivariate and partial correlations were used to analyze the interrelationships among the selected variables.

Results: In the total studied group (n = 51 boys), motor coordination was positively associated with physical activity level (r = 0.300) and negatively associated with body fatness (r = –0.297). However, these associations were not statistically significant (p > 0.05) when controlled for body fatness and physical activity, respectively. Also, body fat and physical activity together explained 11% of the variance in the motor coordination level in adolescent boys.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that body fatness can influence the association between motor coordination and physical activity as well as that physical activity level can influence the association between motor coordination and body fat percentage. Also, body fat and physical activity together, but not separately, partially explained the variance in the motor coordination level. Therefore, body fat and physical activity seem to be complementarily associated with motor coordination in adolescent boys.

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