Low motor performance scores among overweight children: Poor coordination or morphological constraints?

Paola T. Chivers, Dawne Larkin, Elizabeth Rose, Lawrence Beilin, Kim Beth Hands

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined whether lower motor performance scores can be full attributed to poor coordination, or whether weight related morphological constraints may also affect motor performance. Data for 666 children and adolescents from the longitudinal Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study were grouped into normal weight, overweight and obese categories based on the International Obesity Task Force cut points. Participants completed the 10-item McCarron Assessment of Neuromuscular Development (MAND) at the 10 and 14year follow-up. The prevalence of overweight and obese participants classified with mild or moderate motor difficulties was not different from the normal weight group at 10years (χ2=5.8 p=215), but higher at 14years (χ2=11.3 p=023). There were no significant differences in overall motor performance scores between weight status groups at 10years, but at 14years, the normal weight group achieved better scores than the obese group (p<.05). For specific items, the normal weight group consistently scored higher than the overweight and obese groups on the jump task at 10 (p<.001) and 14 (p<.01)years but lower on the hand strength task at both ages (p<.01). Our findings raise the question as to whether some test items commonly used for assessing motor competence are appropriate for an increasingly overweight and obese population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1127-1137
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Movement Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Coordination
  • McCarron Assessment of Neuromuscular Development (MAND)
  • Motor performance obesity
  • Raine Study

Cite this