Associations of obesity, movement behaviors, and socioeconomic status with fundamental movement skills in children: Results from the REACT project

Priscyla Praxedes, José Maia, Carla Santos, Fernando Garbeloto, Donald Hedeker, Tiago V. Barreira, Rui Garganta, Cláudio Farias, Go Tani, Jean Philippe Chaput, David F. Stodden, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Sara Pereira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To investigate the relationship of biological characteristics (age, sex, and obesity), movement behaviors (physical activity and sedentary time), and family socioeconomic status with fundamental movement skills (FMS) in primary school children. Methods: This cross-sectional study sampled 1014 children (537 girls) aged 6 to 10 years from 25 primary schools in Matosinhos, north of Portugal. Five object control skills (dribbling, kicking, catching, throwing, and underarm rolling) were assessed with a categorical scale using the Meu Educativo® platform. Body Mass Index (BMI) was calculated and transformed into z-scores. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and sedentary time were monitored with accelerometry (ActiGraph wGT3X-BT) for seven consecutive days. Family socioeconomic status (SES) was obtained from the Portuguese social support system. Ordinal multilevel logistic regression was used to analyze the associations of weight status, MVPA, sedentary time and SES with FMS, adjusted for sex and age. Results: Boys (odds ratio (OR) = 6.54; 95% CI: 5.13–8.36) and older children (OR = 2.04; 95% CI: 1.85–2.26) were more likely to achieve higher FMS scores. Children with obesity (OR = 0.60; 95% CI: 0.45–0.80), those less active (OR = 0.56; 95% CI: 0.42–0.75) and children with more sedentary time (OR = 0.86; 95%CI: 0.77–0.97) were less likely to score high on FMS. Family SES was not significantly associated with FMS scores. Conclusion: Primary school children's FMS are significantly related to biological and behavioral factors but not to family SES. These findings highlight the need for suitable strategies to enhance children's FMS proficiency, considering differences in these characteristics. Fostering adequate motor skill proficiency levels will assist in establishing a robust foundation for healthy lifestyles of all children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Biology
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology
  • Genetics


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