The purpose of this study was to empirically test a comprehensive conceptual model linking gross motor skills, school day physical activity and health-related variables in a sample of sixth graders. Participants were a convenience sample of 84 sixth grade students (Mean age = 11.6 ± 0.6 years). Gross motor skills were assessed using the Test of Gross Motor Development-3rd Edition (TGMD-3), school day physical activity was assessed using pedometers, health-related fitness was assessed using Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) laps, perceived competence assessed using a validated questionnaire and the health-related outcome was assessed using Body Mass Index (BMI). The relationship between school day step counts and TGMD-3 scores was mediated through both perceived competence and PACER laps (p
= 0.015) and the direct path coefficient between TGMD-3 scores and BMI was statistically significant (b
= −0.22 kg/m2
< 0.001). Overall there was good model fit with all indices meeting acceptable criteria (χ2
= 3.7, p
= 0.293; Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA) = 0.062, 90% Confidence Interval (C.I.): 0.00–0.23; Comparative Fit Index (CFI) = 0.98; Tucker-Lewis Index (TLI) = 0.96; Standardized Root Mean Square Residual (SRMR) = 0.052). The comprehensive conceptual model explaining the inter-relationships among motor competence and health-related variables was empirically validated with the relationship between physical activity and gross motor skills mediated through both perceived competence and cardiorespiratory endurance in a sample of sixth graders.
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