Research unveils secrets of growing into teen fitness


Sydney : Kids who learn how to kick, catch and throw are more likely to grow into active and fit teens.

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The finding indicates that it is not enough just to try to get kids more active – they need to be taught important motor skills, such as to kick, catch and throw, as well.

The Physical Activity and Skills Study (PASS) led by Sydney University doctoral candidate Lisa Barnett is the first study to examine whether childhood motor skill proficiency affects teens’ cardio-respiratory fitness and physical activity.

It studied 276 students aged 10 and 11 years who had already been assessed for motor skills when they were in grades four and five.

It found children skilled in the kick, catch and throw were more likely to be fitter, and almost 20 percent more likely to participate in vigorous physical activity as teens.

Adolescents who had mastered object control skills as children were also more likely to be involved in at least half an hour more moderate to vigorous exercise a day than those who hadn’t mastered object control skills as children.

Their engagement in more sports and physical activity was due to higher levels of perceived sports competence, the study found.

Teenage girls were less active than teenage boys and had less proficiency in object control skills as children, according to a Sydney University release.

Barnett said the research has important implications for the teaching of physical education in schools.

The findings said boys are better at object control skills than girls, in both childhood and adolescence, and are both fitter and more active as teens.

Besides, teenage boys report significantly more time in physical activity as well as time in non-organised and organised activity.

These findings are scheduled for publication in the Journal of Adolescent Health.