Predicting children's perceptions of physical activity adequacy and predilection from physical measures


There is growing interest in ensuring that children develop fundamental movement skills to enable participation in different forms of physical activity throughout the lifespan. Beyond physical skills required for participation, the importance of a child's perceptions of their own ability for sustained involvement cannot be overlooked. There is currently little evidence to explain how a child's physical abilities relate to their perceived adequacy and predilection for physical activity. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between children's physical competence and their perceived adequacy and predilection for physical activity. This study included 341 participants (50% female) from Prince Edward Island who were assessed using the Canadian Assessment of Physical Literacy protocol (8-12 years old (M = 10.7; SD = 1.1)). Perceptions of adequacy and predilection were measured with the CSAPPA questionnaire (Hay, 1992), and were predicted using different demographic (age, sex) and physical (BMI, plank, sit and reach, handgrip, PACER run, fundamental movement skills using an obstacle course) characteristics. Stepwise multiple regressions determined that the PACER run score, obstacle course score, age, and BMI were significant predictors of children's adequacy (r2 = 22.3%). Alternatively, predilection was predicted by the PACER run score and obstacle course score (r2 = 16.0%). Our results highlight the salience of a child's ability to run and complete fundamental movement skills with regard to their perceived adequacy and predilection to participate in physical activity. Results will be discussed in light of engaging children in play and developing skills that promote long-term participation.

Acknowledgments: Research funding was provided by the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute through the RBC Learn to Play project, delivered in partnership with ParticipACTION and the Public Health Agency of Canada.