Disentangling Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior Patterns in Children with Low Motor Competence

Dave H. H. Van Kann*, Anoek M. Adank, Martin L. van Dijk, Teun Remmers, Steven B. Vos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Children with low motor competence (MC) are at high-risk for physical inactivity, yet little is known about their physical activity (PA) and sedentary behavior (SB) patterns throughout the day. The purpose of this study is to disentangle PA and SB patterns among children with low MC across segmented day periods taking into account differences in gender and age. Data collection took place between May and July 2017. The Athletic Skills Track was used to measure MC. PA levels were objectively measured using accelerometers (ActiGraph, GT3X+) on school days. Data were segmented for (1) time before school, (2) time during school (based on school schedules), and (3) time after school. In total, data from 117 7-to-11 years-old children with low MC were eligible for analyses (N = 58 girls; N = 59 boys). Differences in moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) and SB between segmented periods, gender, and grade were analyzed by ANOVAs with post hoc tests (Tukey) and Independent Sample T-tests respectively. Time spent at school is the major contributor of time spent in SB in children with low MC. Low MC is equally distributed among gender, but large differences exist among boys and girls in both MVPA and SB, indicating low-MC girls as most inactive group. This pattern is found in all segmented periods of the school day, i.e., before, during, and after school. This study stresses the negative contribution of current school curricula on PA and SB in children with low MC, indicating the most efficient period of the day to intervene. Future school-based PA and SB interventions should particularly focus on specific high-risk populations, i.e., children with low MC, and girls in particular.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3804
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • low motor competence
  • physical activity
  • sedentary behavior
  • primary schools
  • children

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