Monitoring and Promoting Physical Activity, Physical Fitness and Motor Competence in Children

A special issue of Children (ISSN 2227-9067). This special issue belongs to the section "Global and Public Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 August 2022) | Viewed by 62317

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Special Issue Editors

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is our pleasure to have this Special Issue on ‘’Monitoring and Promoting Physical Activity, Physical Fitness and Motor Competence in Children’’ in the Children journal.

As we know, a large amount of research confirms that physical activity (PA), physical fitness (PF) and motor competence (MC) are associated with health benefits in individuals of all ages. Achieving a sufficient level of PA and PF will consequently further contribute to better health-related biomarkers. Moreover, holding a good MC allows better participation in PA and exercise in life, promoting greater physical literacy.

It is true that the measurement of PA in children and young people is subject to several conditioning factors which threaten validity and reliability. Additionally, it is good to remember that the World Health Organization guidelines on PA and sedentary behaviour for children recommend: (1) 180 min of PA (at any intensity) for two-year old children; (2) 180 min of PA, of which 60 min is moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), for 3- to 4-year-old children; and (3) at least 60 min of MVPA for children and adolescents from 5 to 17 years old.

Therefore, understanding and developing strategies to promote PA behavior is now more important than in the past, because it is essential to improve fitness levels and MC in early ages. These strategies should cover all generations, children and youth, adults and the elderly, equally, because negative outcomes are visible in individuals of all ages.

In this Special Issue, we welcome contributions that describe and list the link, monitoring and promotion between PA, PF and MC. Your contribution is welcome in the form of an original article, case report, commentary, and systematic review with meta-analysis.

Dr. Georgian Badicu
Dr. Ana Filipa Silva
Dr. Hugo Miguel Borges Sarmento
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • physical activity
  • physical fitness
  • motor competence
  • motor development
  • children
  • health
  • monitoring and promoting
  • sport
  • sedentary behaviour
  • obesity
  • well-being

Published Papers (22 papers)

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13 pages, 1802 KiB  
Article
Body Image Perception in High School Students: The Relationship with Gender, Weight Status, and Physical Activity
by Stefania Toselli, Luciana Zaccagni, Natascia Rinaldo, Mario Mauro, Alessia Grigoletto, Pasqualino Maietta Latessa and Sofia Marini
Children 2023, 10(1), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/children10010137 - 10 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 4781
Abstract
Body image perception includes body size assessment, body desirability estimation, and perceptions concerning one’s own body shape and size. Adolescence is a period of intense and prompt physical transformation, which changes the perception of one’s body. This represents a critical period for the [...] Read more.
Body image perception includes body size assessment, body desirability estimation, and perceptions concerning one’s own body shape and size. Adolescence is a period of intense and prompt physical transformation, which changes the perception of one’s body. This represents a critical period for the development of body image. Therefore, the present cross-sectional study aimed to evaluate body image perception and investigate the relationships between it, weight status, sex, and physical activity in a sample of high school students living in Italy. General demographic information and details about physical activity were collected. Body image perception was measured with a body silhouette and two indexes were calculated: the FID (Feel minus Ideal Discrepancy) to evaluate the discrepancy between the perceived current figure and the ideal figure; and the FAI (Feel weight status minus Actual weight status Inconsistency) to observe improper perception of weight status. In addition, body shape concerns were evaluated with the Body Shape Questionnaire (BSQ), in which participants reported the frequency of experiencing negative thoughts about their body shape in the last four weeks. Two hundred and four students were included in the study (155 = female, mean age = 17.13 ± 1.70; 49 = male, mean age = 17.25 ± 1.69). Females felt more concerned about body shape than males (χ2 = 11.347, p = 0.001). Distinctions emerged in terms of body mass index, the scores of Feel minus Ideal Discrepancy (FID), Feel weight status minus Actual weight status Inconsistency (FAI), the Body Shape Questionnaire (BSQ), and of the silhouette mean comparisons due to sex, weight status, and PA interaction effects (p < 0.001). Additionally, 94% of the BSQ variability could be explained by sex, weight status, and PA. Although no direct effects were observed on body image perception, healthy habit promotion, such as physical activity, could positively affect adolescent lives. Full article
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9 pages, 796 KiB  
Article
Motor Competence Assessment (MCA) Scoring Method
by Luis Paulo Rodrigues, Carlos Luz, Rita Cordovil, André Pombo and Vitor P. Lopes
Children 2022, 9(11), 1769; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9111769 - 17 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2399
Abstract
The Motor Competence Assessment (MCA) is a quantitative test battery that assesses motor competence across the whole lifespan. It is composed of three sub-scales: locomotor, stability, and manipulative, each of them assessed by two different objectively measured tests. The MCA construct validity for [...] Read more.
The Motor Competence Assessment (MCA) is a quantitative test battery that assesses motor competence across the whole lifespan. It is composed of three sub-scales: locomotor, stability, and manipulative, each of them assessed by two different objectively measured tests. The MCA construct validity for children and adolescents, having normative values from 3 to 23 years of age, and the configural invariance between age groups, were recently established. The aim of this study is to expand the MCA’s development and validation by defining the best and leanest method to score and classify MCA sub-scales and total score. One thousand participants from 3 to 22 years of age, randomly selected from the Portuguese database on MC, participated in the study. Three different procedures to calculate the sub-scales and total MCA values were tested according to alternative models. Results were compared to the reference method, and Intraclass Correlation Coefficient, Cronbach’s Alpha, and Bland–Altman statistics were used to describe agreement between the three methods. The analysis showed no substantial differences between the three methods. Reliability values were perfect (0.999 to 1.000) for all models, implying that all the methods were able to classify everyone in the same way. We recommend implementing the most economic and efficient algorithm, i.e., the configural model algorithm, averaging the percentile scores of the two tests to assess each MCA sub-scale and total scores. Full article
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20 pages, 1958 KiB  
Article
Improving Body Mass Index in Students with Excess Weight through a Physical Activity Programme
by Mădălina Doiniţa Scurt, Lorand Balint and Raluca Mijaică
Children 2022, 9(11), 1638; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9111638 - 27 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1274
Abstract
The obesity epidemic among young people can be tackled through regular physical activity. For this purpose, we developed and implemented a physical activity programme (PAP) that we carried out in students’ free time during the school year 2018–2019. The target group consisted of [...] Read more.
The obesity epidemic among young people can be tackled through regular physical activity. For this purpose, we developed and implemented a physical activity programme (PAP) that we carried out in students’ free time during the school year 2018–2019. The target group consisted of 79 students with excess weight, aged between 12 and 15 years, selected from an initial sample of 495 students from 5 pre-university education units located in an urban area. That group followed a differentiated PAP for 26 weeks. The impact of the programme highlighted the following points: the average physical activity/week for the entire sample of subjects was 3.67 physical activities, with an allocated time/week ranging from 1 h 30 min to 3 h; in terms of effort intensity, 7.70% of the activities were performed at low intensity, 75.07% at medium intensity and 17.23% at submaximal intensity. At the end of the programme, out of 79 subjects who were overweight/obese at the initial testing, 37 improved their body composition at the final testing, with a healthy BMI. It was also found that there is a negative correlation coefficient (r = −0.23) between the time spent performing physical activities and the BMI of the subjects. Full article
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19 pages, 4047 KiB  
Article
Balance Rehabilitation Approach by Bobath and Vojta Methods in Cerebral Palsy: A Pilot Study
by Andreea Ungureanu, Ligia Rusu, Mihai Robert Rusu and Mihnea Ion Marin
Children 2022, 9(10), 1481; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9101481 - 28 Sep 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 6062
Abstract
In cerebral palsy (CP) the basis for rehabilitation comes from neuroplasticity. One of the leading therapeutic approaches used in the management of CP is the NDT Bobath therapy and Vojta therapy consists in trying to program the ideal movement patterns for the age. [...] Read more.
In cerebral palsy (CP) the basis for rehabilitation comes from neuroplasticity. One of the leading therapeutic approaches used in the management of CP is the NDT Bobath therapy and Vojta therapy consists in trying to program the ideal movement patterns for the age. The aim of our research was to analyze, from a functional point of view, the evolution of the biomechanical parameters characterizing the balance, in children with CP. The group of 12 subjects average age of 7 ± 3.28 years. The subject’s evaluation included a functional clinical evaluation by Berg pediatric scale and a biomechanical evaluation performed using the “Stabilometry footboard PoData 2.00” for evaluation the body weight distribution on the foot level. The rehabilitation program was developed based on two methods, NDT Bobath and Vojta. A 90-min physiotherapy session starts with a Vojta therapy activation, for 20 min. Between the two therapies there is a 10-min break, then the session continues with NDT Bobath exercises within the 3 physical exercises proposed for 60 min. 5 days per week, 6 months. The analysis of the data collected before and after the application of the rehabilitation program, regarding the using the Berg scale indicates a progress of 32.35%, (p = 0.0001 < 0.05) and the effect size is large. The evolution of the data that indicate the distribution of body weight at the level of the two lower limbs, at the two moments pre/post, evaluation. For left side a progress of 8.39%, (p = 0.027 < 0.05) but a small effect size of 0.86. For right side a progress of 10.36% (p = 0.027 < 0.05) and also a small effect size of 0.86. Analyzing the results, we find that there is a left-right rebalancing in most patients. The favorable results that were obtained by drawing up a physiotherapy program composed of the combination of the two Vojta and NDT Bobath methods are proof of the fact that both methods are based on the creation of a stimulating peripheral pressure, which, if maintained, generates an extended stereotyped motor response. A pattern of symmetrical muscle contraction is thus created and thus balance and postural control can be achieved. The left-right rebalancing, proven by the percentage distribution analysis of the weight at the lower segmental level, demonstrated that the body alignment approach through the Vojta method on the one hand and the inhibitory facilitating postures/exercises promoted by the NDT Bobath method, allows obtaining a symmetry. Full article
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7 pages, 236 KiB  
Article
Physical Activity among U.S. Preschool-Aged Children: Application of Machine Learning Physical Activity Classification to the 2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey National Youth Fitness Survey
by Soyang Kwon, Megan K. O’Brien, Sarah B. Welch and Kyle Honegger
Children 2022, 9(10), 1433; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9101433 - 21 Sep 2022
Viewed by 1557
Abstract
Early childhood is an important development period for establishing healthy physical activity (PA) habits. The objective of this study was to evaluate PA levels in a representative sample of U.S. preschool-aged children. The study sample included 301 participants (149 girls, 3–5 years of [...] Read more.
Early childhood is an important development period for establishing healthy physical activity (PA) habits. The objective of this study was to evaluate PA levels in a representative sample of U.S. preschool-aged children. The study sample included 301 participants (149 girls, 3–5 years of age) in the 2012 U.S. National Health and Examination Survey National Youth Fitness Survey. Participants were asked to wear an ActiGraph accelerometer on their wrist for 7 days. A machine learning random forest classification algorithm was applied to accelerometer data to estimate daily time spent in moderate- and vigorous-intensity PA (MVPA; the sum of minutes spent in running, walking, and other moderate- and vigorous-intensity PA) and total PA (the sum of MVPA and light-intensity PA). We estimated that U.S. preschool-aged children engaged in 28 min/day of MVPA and 361 min/day of total PA, on average. MVPA and total PA levels were not significantly different between males and females. This study revealed that U.S. preschool-aged children engage in lower levels of MVPA and higher levels of total PA than the minimum recommended by the World Health Organization. Full article
13 pages, 284 KiB  
Article
The Level and Factors Differentiating the Physical Fitness of Adolescents Passively and Actively Resting in South-Eastern Poland—A Pilot Study
by Anna Puchalska-Sarna, Rafał Baran, Magdalena Kustra, Teresa Pop, Jarosław Herbert and Joanna Baran
Children 2022, 9(9), 1341; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9091341 - 1 Sep 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1655
Abstract
Physical activity (PA) is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure. Due to civilization’s development, we can observe a global decline in physical activity which negatively affects the state of physical and mental health. The physical activity [...] Read more.
Physical activity (PA) is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure. Due to civilization’s development, we can observe a global decline in physical activity which negatively affects the state of physical and mental health. The physical activity of children and adolescents is a counterpart to their physical fitness. There is also more frequent spending of free time in a passive way rather than actively. The aim of the study was to determine whether there are differences in the physical fitness of young people who rest passively in relation to those who rest actively. In addition, it was checked whether factors, such as age, weight, body height and BMI differentiate the level of fitness in adolescents. Study group: 25 boys and 25 girls declaring active leisure activities. Control group: 25 boys and 25 girls declaring passive leisure activities. Age of the respondents ranged from 11 to 15 years (Me = 13; SD = 1.23). The research used: the author’s questionnaire and the Index of Physical Fitness of K. Zuchora. The results were statistically developed. The youth who spend their free time actively were characterised by a higher level of physical fitness than their peers who choose passive recreation. The students with a higher BMI obtained worse results than the children with a lower body mass index. In both groups, slightly better results were obtained by girls. A significant relationship between age and results has been observed in the control group—the results increased with increasing age. The level of physical fitness is higher in active forms of recreation than in passive rest. Physical fitness tends to increase with age but decreases with increasing BMI. Girls are characterised by a higher level of physical fitness than boys. Full article
9 pages, 241 KiB  
Article
Relationships between Functional Movement Quality and Sprint and Jump Performance in Female Youth Soccer Athletes of Team China
by Junjie Zhang, Junlei Lin, Hongwen Wei and Haiyuan Liu
Children 2022, 9(9), 1312; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9091312 - 29 Aug 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1865
Abstract
This study aimed to determine the optimal functional movement screen (FMS) cut score for assessing the risk of sport injury, and to investigate the correlations between functional movement quality and sprint and jump performance. Twenty-four (N = 24) athletes performed all tests in [...] Read more.
This study aimed to determine the optimal functional movement screen (FMS) cut score for assessing the risk of sport injury, and to investigate the correlations between functional movement quality and sprint and jump performance. Twenty-four (N = 24) athletes performed all tests in one day at 10–30 min intervals, and the FMS test was performed first, without a warm-up session. After a standard warm-up, athletes then completed the Y-balance Test (YBT), sprint, counter-movement jump (CMJ), and standing long jump (SLJ), in turn. For each test, the best of three attempts was recorded for further analysis. A receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve and area-under-the-curve (AUC) were used to determine the optimal FMS cut score for assessing the risk of sport injuries, and Spearman’s rank correlation analysis was used to quantify associations between functional movement scores and athletic performance. The average FMS score was 16.2 and the optimal FMS cut score for assessing the risk of sport injuries was 14.5. There were moderate relationships between total FMS score and 10–20 m sprint time (r = −0.46, p < 0.05), between In-line Lunge and 0–20 m sprint time (r = −0.47, p < 0.05), between Shoulder Mobility and 0–10 m sprint time (r = −0.48, p < 0.05), and between Trunk-stability Push-up and 10–20 m sprint time (r = −0.47, p < 0.05). Moreover, Hurdle Step score was largely correlated with 0–10 m time (r = −0.51, p < 0.05). For Y-balance, moderate correlations were observed between CMJ height and anterior asymmetry score (r = −0.47, p < 0.05) and posteromedial asymmetry score (r = −0.44, p < 0.05). However, there were no significant associations between YBT performance (asymmetric in three directions and composite score) and sprint performance (p > 0.05). Taken together, the results indicate that a FMS score of 14 is not a gold standard for assessing the risk of injury in all populations; we recommend that the FMS cut score of 14.5 should be the optimal score for assessing risk of injury in young female elite soccer players. Moreover, the FMS and YBT were introduced to assess the quality of functional movements, and they cannot be used to assess sprint and jump performance. Practitioners can use components of the FMS that have similar characteristics to specific sports to assess athletic performance. Full article
11 pages, 513 KiB  
Article
Optimizing the Development of Space-Temporal Orientation in Physical Education and Sports Lessons for Students Aged 8–11 Years
by Denisa-Mădălina Bălănean, Cristian Negrea, Eugen Bota, Simona Petracovschi and Bogdan Almăjan-Guță
Children 2022, 9(9), 1299; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9091299 - 27 Aug 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1666
Abstract
The purpose of this research was to analyze how we can improve the space–temporal orientation ability with the help of physical exercises in physical education and sports lessons. In total,148 children between the ages of 8 and 11 participated in this study (M [...] Read more.
The purpose of this research was to analyze how we can improve the space–temporal orientation ability with the help of physical exercises in physical education and sports lessons. In total,148 children between the ages of 8 and 11 participated in this study (M = 9.70; SD = 0.79). They were subjected to three tests, which measured general intelligence (Raven Progressive Matrices) and space–temporal orientation skills (Piaget-Head test and Bender–Santucci test). The tests were carried out both in the pre-test and in the post-test period. In the case of participants in the experimental group, a specific program was applied for a period of 12 weeks. The results showed that general intelligence level was identified as a predictor of spatial–temporal orientation (beta = 0.17, t = 2.08, p = 0.03) but only for the Piaget-Head test. Similarly, no differences between children’s age groups were identified in any of the spatial–temporal orientation test scores. However, children in the “+9” age category had higher scores on the intelligence test compared to younger children (77.31 vs. 35.70). In conclusion, the intervention program had a positive effect on spatial orientation skills. Full article
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12 pages, 845 KiB  
Article
Association between Physical Fitness Index and Psychological Symptoms in Chinese Children and Adolescents
by Jinkui Lu, Hao Sun, Jianfeng Zhou and Jianping Xiong
Children 2022, 9(9), 1286; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9091286 - 26 Aug 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1627
Abstract
The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between different physical fitness indices (PFIs) and psychological symptoms and each dimension (emotional symptoms, behavioral symptoms, social adaptation difficulties) of Chinese children and adolescents. Methods: A total of 7199 children and adolescents aged [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between different physical fitness indices (PFIs) and psychological symptoms and each dimension (emotional symptoms, behavioral symptoms, social adaptation difficulties) of Chinese children and adolescents. Methods: A total of 7199 children and adolescents aged 13–18 in Jiangxi Province, China, were tested for grip strength, standing long jump, sit-ups, sit and reach, repeated straddling, 50 m run, 20 m shuttle run test (20 m SRT) items. The physical fitness indicators were standardized, converted to Z score and added up to obtain the PFI, and the self-assessment of the psychological section of the multidimensional sub-health questionnaire of adolescents (MSQA) to test the psychological symptoms, using the chi-square test to determine the psychological symptoms of different types of children and adolescents and binary logistic regression analysis to determine the association between psychological symptoms and different PFI grades. Results: The higher the PFI of Chinese children and adolescents, the lower the detection rate of psychological symptoms, emotional symptoms and social adaptation difficulties, from 25.0% to 18.4%, 31.3% to 25.7% and 20.1% to 14.4%, respectively. These results were statistically significant (χ2 = 14.073, 9.332, 12.183, p < 0.05). Taking the high-grade PFI as a reference, binary logistic regression analysis was performed. Generally, compared with the high-grade PFI, children and adolescents with a low-grade PFI (OR = 1.476, 95% CI: 1.200–1.814) or medium-grade PFI (OR = 1.195, 95% CI: 1.010–1.413) had a higher risk of psychological symptoms (p < 0.05). Conclusions: The lower the PFI of Chinese children and adolescents, the higher the detection rate of psychological symptoms, showing a negative correlation. In the future, measures should be taken to improve the physical fitness level of children and adolescents in order to reduce the incidence of psychological symptoms and promote the healthy development of children and adolescents. Full article
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15 pages, 1881 KiB  
Article
Physical Activity Design for Balance Rehabilitation in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
by Andreea Maria Roșca, Ligia Rusu, Mihnea Ion Marin, Virgil Ene Voiculescu and Carmen Ene Voiculescu
Children 2022, 9(8), 1152; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9081152 - 30 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3456
Abstract
One of the characteristics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) subjects is postural control deficit, which is significant when somatosensory perception is affected. This study analyzed postural stability evolution after physical therapy exercises based on balance training. The study included 28 children with ASD [...] Read more.
One of the characteristics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) subjects is postural control deficit, which is significant when somatosensory perception is affected. This study analyzed postural stability evolution after physical therapy exercises based on balance training. The study included 28 children with ASD (average age 8 years, average weight 32.18 kg). The rehabilitation program involved performing balance exercises twice a week for three months. Subject assessment was carried out using the RSScan platform. The parameters were the surface of the confidence ellipse (A) and the length of the curve (L) described by the pressure center, which were evaluated before and after the rehabilitation program. Following data processing, we observed a significant decrease in the surface of the confidence ellipse by 92% from EV1 to EV2. Additionally, a decrease of 42% in the curve length was observed from EV1 to EV2. A t test applied to the ellipse surface showed a p = 0.021 and a Cohen’s coefficient of 0.8 (very large effect size). A t test applied to the length L showed p = 0.029 and Cohen’s coefficient of 1.27 mm. Thus, the results show a significant improvement in the two parameters. The application of the program based on physical exercise led to an improvement in the balance of children with autism under complex evaluation conditions. Full article
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11 pages, 504 KiB  
Article
Associations between Sedentary Time and Sedentary Patterns and Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Chinese Children and Adolescents
by Ming Li, Xiaojian Yin, Yuqiang Li, Yi Sun, Ting Zhang, Feng Zhang, Yuan Liu, Yaru Guo and Pengwei Sun
Children 2022, 9(8), 1140; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9081140 - 29 Jul 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1526
Abstract
The increase in sedentary behavior in children and adolescents has become a worldwide public health problem. This study aimed to explore the associations between sedentary time (ST) and sedentary patterns (SP) and the cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) of Chinese children and adolescents. The CRF [...] Read more.
The increase in sedentary behavior in children and adolescents has become a worldwide public health problem. This study aimed to explore the associations between sedentary time (ST) and sedentary patterns (SP) and the cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) of Chinese children and adolescents. The CRF of 535 participants was determined using a 20-m shuttle run test. ST and SP were measured with accelerometers. Questionnaires were used to investigate the different types of ST. Multiple linear regression models were used to test the associations between ST and SP and CRF. In this study, only some ST and SP indicators were found to be significantly associated with CRF in girls. With each additional 10 min of screen time or passive traffic time, VO2max decreases by 0.06 mL/kg/min (B = −0.006, 95% CI: −0.010~−0.001) and 0.31 mL/kg/min (B = −0.031, 95% CI: −0.061~−0.002), respectively, with MVPA control. With each additional 10 min of breaks in ST or duration of breaks in ST, VO2max increases by 0.41 mL/kg/min (B = 0.041, 95% CI: 0.007~0.076) and 0.21 mL/kg/min (B = 0.021, 95% CI: 0.007~0.035), respectively, with control total ST. Breaks in ST (B = 0.075, 95% CI: 0.027~0.123) and the duration of breaks in ST (B = 0.021, 95% CI: 0.012~0.146) were positively correlated with CRF when controlling for LPA, but these associations were not significant when controlling for MVPA (B = 0.003, 95% CI: −0.042~0.048; B = 0.001, 95% CI: −0.024~0.025). The total ST of children and adolescents was found to not be correlated with CRF, but when ST was divided into different types, the screen time and passive traffic time of girls were negatively correlated with CRF. More breaks in ST and the duration of breaks in ST were positively associated with higher CRF in girls. MVPA performed during breaks in ST may be the key factor affecting CRF. Schools and public health departments should take all feasible means to actively intervene with CRF in children and adolescents. Full article
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10 pages, 542 KiB  
Article
Static and Dynamic Balance Indices among Kindergarten Children: A Short-Term Intervention Program during COVID-19 Lockdowns
by Einat Yanovich and Salit Bar-Shalom
Children 2022, 9(7), 939; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9070939 - 22 Jun 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2887
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak had a negative impact on kindergarten activities. These young children, who had been compelled to stay home during lockdowns, suffered a lack of movement and loss of mobility, resulting in deteriorated physical motor skills. Lack of sufficient motor experience [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak had a negative impact on kindergarten activities. These young children, who had been compelled to stay home during lockdowns, suffered a lack of movement and loss of mobility, resulting in deteriorated physical motor skills. Lack of sufficient motor experience in early childhood can impair children’s motor and cognitive development. Balance skills are fundamental to all other motor abilities, from the most basic movements to the most complex motor skills. The purpose of this study was to implement a short-term physical activity program, which may have a direct effect on children’s fundamental balance ability. Ninety-six kindergarten children (45 boys and 51 girls), aged 4–6 years, participated in the study. Data were analyzed using three-way ANOVA and interaction analyses. The results suggest that short, focused, and dedicated balance training programs have a beneficial influence on the static balance of preschoolers and can mitigate some of the negative physical outcomes of lockdowns. In conclusion, this study indicates that a short-term physical training program had a positive effect on the motor abilities of preschoolers after COVID-19-related lockdowns. More research is needed in order to fully understand the complete impact of the worldwide health crisis and the best ways in which to address it. Full article
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12 pages, 1363 KiB  
Article
The Effects of Verbal Encouragement during a Soccer Dribbling Circuit on Physical and Psychophysiological Responses: An Exploratory Study in a Physical Education Setting
by Bilel Aydi, Okba Selmi, Mohamed A. Souissi, Hajer Sahli, Ghazi Rekik, Zachary J. Crowley-McHattan, Jeffrey Cayaban Pagaduan, Antonella Muscella, Makram Zghibi and Yung-Sheng Chen
Children 2022, 9(6), 907; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9060907 - 17 Jun 2022
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3124
Abstract
Verbal encouragement (VE) can be used by physical education (PE) practitioners for boosting motivation during exercise engagement. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of VE on psychophysiological aspects and physical performance in a PE context. Twenty secondary school male [...] Read more.
Verbal encouragement (VE) can be used by physical education (PE) practitioners for boosting motivation during exercise engagement. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of VE on psychophysiological aspects and physical performance in a PE context. Twenty secondary school male students (age: 17.68 ± 0.51 yrs; height: 175.7 ± 6.2 cm; body mass: 67.3 ± 5.1 kg, %fat: 11.9 ± 3.1%; PE experience: 10.9 ± 1.0 yrs) completed, in a randomized order, two test sessions that comprised a soccer dribbling circuit exercise (the Hoff circuit) either with VE (CVE) or without VE (CNVE), with one-week apart between the tests. Heart rate (HR) responses were recorded throughout the circuit exercise sessions. Additionally, the profile of mood-state (POMS) was assessed pre and post the circuit exercises. Furthermore, rating of perceived exertion (RPE), traveled distance, and physical activity enjoyment (PACES) were assessed after the testing sessions. Furthermore, the CVE trial resulted in higher covered distance, %HRmax, RPE, PACES score, (Cohen’s coefficient d = 1.08, d = 1.86, d = 1.37, respectively; all, p < 0.01). The CNVE trial also showed lower vigor and higher total mood disturbance (TMD) (d = 0.67, d = 0.87, respectively, p < 0.05) and was associated with higher tension and fatigue, compared to the CVE trial (d = 0.77, d = 1.23, respectively, p < 0.01). The findings suggest that PE teachers may use verbal cues during soccer dribbling circuits for improving physical and psychophysiological responses within secondary school students. Full article
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14 pages, 1161 KiB  
Article
Mediterranean Diet Adherence, Body Mass Index and Emotional Intelligence in Primary Education Students—An Explanatory Model as a Function of Weekly Physical Activity
by Eduardo Melguizo-Ibáñez, Gabriel González-Valero, Georgian Badicu, Ana Filipa-Silva, Filipe Manuel Clemente, Hugo Sarmento, Félix Zurita-Ortega and José Luis Ubago-Jiménez
Children 2022, 9(6), 872; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9060872 - 11 Jun 2022
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3164
Abstract
Adolescence is a key developmental period from a health, physical and psychological perspective. In view of this, the present research aimed to establish the relationship between emotional intelligence, Mediterranean diet adherence, BMI and age. In order to address this aim, (a) an explanatory [...] Read more.
Adolescence is a key developmental period from a health, physical and psychological perspective. In view of this, the present research aimed to establish the relationship between emotional intelligence, Mediterranean diet adherence, BMI and age. In order to address this aim, (a) an explanatory model is developed of emotional intelligence and its relationship with Mediterranean diet adherence, BMI and age, and (b) the proposed structural model is examined via multi-group analysis as a function of whether students engage in more than three hours of physical activity a week. To this end, a quantitative, non-experimental (ex post facto), comparative and cross-sectional study was carried out with a sample of 567 students (11.10 ± 1.24). The instruments used were an ad hoc questionnaire, the KIDMED questionnaire and the TMMS-24. Outcomes reveal that participants who engage in more than three hours of physical activity a week score more highly for emotional intelligence than those who do not meet this criterion. Furthermore, it was also observed that, whilst the majority of the sample was physically active, improvement was required with regards to Mediterranean diet adherence. Full article
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14 pages, 301 KiB  
Article
Adolescents with Higher Cognitive and Affective Domains of Physical Literacy Possess Better Physical Fitness: The Importance of Developing the Concept of Physical Literacy in High Schools
by Barbara Gilic, Pavle Malovic, Mirela Sunda, Nevenka Maras and Natasa Zenic
Children 2022, 9(6), 796; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9060796 - 28 May 2022
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 3891
Abstract
Physical literacy (PL) is thought to facilitate engagement in physical activity, which could lead to better physical fitness (PF). The aim of this study was to examine the reliability of the Croatian version of two frequently applied PL questionnaires that evaluate knowledge and [...] Read more.
Physical literacy (PL) is thought to facilitate engagement in physical activity, which could lead to better physical fitness (PF). The aim of this study was to examine the reliability of the Croatian version of two frequently applied PL questionnaires that evaluate knowledge and understanding, perceived competence, environment, and value for literacy, numeracy, and PL and validity regarding correlation with objectively evaluated PF in adolescents. Five hundred forty-four high school students (403 females, 141 males) from Croatia were tested on PF (standing long jump, sit-ups for 30 s, sit-and-reach test, multilevel endurance test) and two PL questionnaires. The reliability of the Croatian version of the Canadian Assessment of Physical Literacy knowledge and understanding (CAPL-2-KU) and PLAYself was good (α = 0.71–0.81 for PLAYself subscales, κ = 0.39–0.69 for CAPL-2-KU). Genders differed in the self-description dimension of PLAYself, with higher results in boys (Z = 3.72, p < 0.001). CAPL-2-KU and PLAYself total score were associated with PF in boys and girls, with PLAYself having stronger associations with PF. This research supports the idea of PL as an essential determinant for the development of PF, highlighting the necessity of the development of cognitive and affective domains of PL in physical education throughout a specifically tailored pedagogical process. Full article
15 pages, 1508 KiB  
Article
The Correlation between Psychological Characteristics and Psychomotor Abilities of Junior Handball Players
by Vlad-Alexandru Muntianu, Beatrice-Aurelia Abalașei, Florin Nichifor and Iulian-Marius Dumitru
Children 2022, 9(6), 767; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9060767 - 24 May 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2365
Abstract
The general development of the sports world has guided researchers in sports science to study excellence in sports performance, namely, the study of the characteristics and requirements specific to each sport. However, in order to meet these requirements, each individual must have a [...] Read more.
The general development of the sports world has guided researchers in sports science to study excellence in sports performance, namely, the study of the characteristics and requirements specific to each sport. However, in order to meet these requirements, each individual must have a set of specific characteristics similar to those of the group to which he/she belongs. The variables in the study are related to the psychomotor abilities and psychological aspects that could influence the overall performance of junior III handball players. The main work instruments are related to field testing and psychological characteristics measurement. For psychomotor abilities, we used means such as the TReactionCo software (eye–hand coordination), Just Jump platform (dynamic balance), Tractronix system (general dynamic coordination), and Illinois test (spatial-temporal orientation), and for the psychological characteristics, we used the Motivational Persistence Questionnaire. In addition, the result of the study is represented by new software that we created in order to better observe the level of development of these characteristics in junior handball players. From a statistical point of view, we calculated the correlations between psychomotor abilities and psychological characteristics using ANOVA in order to see field position differences and performed linear regression for the variables of this study. Full article
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10 pages, 940 KiB  
Article
Reliability of International Fitness Scale (IFIS) in Chinese Children and Adolescents
by Ran Bao, Sitong Chen, Kaja Kastelic, Clemens Drenowatz, Minghui Li, Jialin Zhang and Lei Wang
Children 2022, 9(4), 531; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9040531 - 8 Apr 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2293
Abstract
Background and Objectives: It has previously been shown that the International Fitness Scale (IFIS) is a reliable and valid instrument when used in numerous regions and subgroups, but it remains to be determined whether the IFIS is a reliable instrument for use with [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: It has previously been shown that the International Fitness Scale (IFIS) is a reliable and valid instrument when used in numerous regions and subgroups, but it remains to be determined whether the IFIS is a reliable instrument for use with Chinese children and adolescents. If the reliability of the IFIS can be verified, populational surveillance and monitoring of physical fitness (PF) can easily be conducted. This study aimed to test the reliability of the IFIS when used with Chinese children and adolescents. Methods: The convenience sampling method was used to recruit study participants. In total, 974 school-aged children and adolescents between 11 and 17 years of age were recruited from three cities in Southeast China: Shanghai, Nanjing and Wuxi. The study participants self-reported demographic data, including age (in years) and sex (boy or girl). The participants completed the questionnaire twice within a two-week interval. Results: A response rate of 95.9% resulted in a sample of 934 participants (13.7 ± 1.5 years, 47.4% girls) with valid data. On average, the participants were 13.7 ± 1.5 years of age. The test–retest weighted kappa coefficients for overall fitness, cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle fitness, speed and agility and flexibility were 0.52 (Std. errs. = 0.02), 0.51 (Std. errs. = 0.02), 0.60 (Std. errs. = 0.02), 0.55 (Std. errs. = 0.02) and 0.55 (Std. errs. = 0.02), respectively. Conclusions: The International Fitness Scale was found to have moderate reliability in the assessment of (self-reported) physical fitness in Chinese children and adolescents. In the future, the validity of the IFIS should be urgently tested in Chinese subgroup populations. Full article
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15 pages, 3442 KiB  
Article
Monitoring the Role of Physical Activity in Children with Flat Feet by Assessing Subtalar Flexibility and Plantar Arch Index
by Ligia Rusu, Mihnea Ion Marin, Michi Mihail Geambesa and Mihai Robert Rusu
Children 2022, 9(3), 427; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9030427 - 18 Mar 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2710
Abstract
Flat foot is a common pediatric foot deformity which involves subtalar flexibility; it can affect the plantar arch. This study analyzes the evolution of two parameters, i.e., plantar index arch and subtalar flexibility, before and after physiotherapy and orthoses interventions, and examines the [...] Read more.
Flat foot is a common pediatric foot deformity which involves subtalar flexibility; it can affect the plantar arch. This study analyzes the evolution of two parameters, i.e., plantar index arch and subtalar flexibility, before and after physiotherapy and orthoses interventions, and examines the correlation between these two parameters. Methods: The study included 30 participants (17 boys, 12 girls, average age 9.37 ± 1.42 years) with bilateral flat foot. We made two groups, each with 15 subjects. Assessments of the subtalar flexibility and plantar arch index used RSScan the platform, and were undertaken at two time points. Therapeutic interventions: Group 1—short foot exercises (SFE); Group 2—SFE and insoles. Statistical analyses included Student’s t-test, Cohen’s D coefficient, Pearson and Sperman correlation. Results: Group 1—subtalar flexibility decreased for the left and right feet by 28.6% and 15.9% respectively, indicating good evolution for the left foot. For both feet, a decrease of the plantar index arch was observed. Group 2—subtalar flexibility decreased for the right and left feet by 43.4% and 37.7% respectively, indicating a good evolution for the right foot. For both feet, a decrease of plantar index arch was observed. Between groups, subtalar flexibility evolved well for Group 2; this was attributed to mixt intervention, physical therapy and orthosis. For plantar arch index, differences were not significant between the two groups. We observed an inverse correlation between subtalar flexibility and plantar arch index. Conclusions: Improvement of plantar index arch in static and dynamic situations creates the premise of a good therapeutic intervention and increases foot balance and postural control. The parameter which showed the most beneficial influence was the evolution is subtalar flexibility. Full article
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Review

Jump to: Research, Other

12 pages, 429 KiB  
Review
Effects of Participating in Martial Arts in Children: A Systematic Review
by Aleksandar Stamenković, Mila Manić, Roberto Roklicer, Tatjana Trivić, Pavle Malović and Patrik Drid
Children 2022, 9(8), 1203; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9081203 - 11 Aug 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 4499
Abstract
Background: The application of various martial arts programs can greatly contribute to improving the of physical fitness of preschool and school children. The purpose of this review paper was to determine the effects and influence that martial arts program intervention has on children’s [...] Read more.
Background: The application of various martial arts programs can greatly contribute to improving the of physical fitness of preschool and school children. The purpose of this review paper was to determine the effects and influence that martial arts program intervention has on children’s physical fitness, which includes motor skills and the aerobic and anaerobic abilities of children. Method: We searched the following electronic scientific databases for articles published in English from January 2006 to April 2021 to gather data for this review paper: Google Scholar, Pub Med, and Web of Science. Results: After the search was completed, 162 studies were identified, of which 16 studies were selected and were systematically reviewed and analyzed. Eight studies included karate programs, four studies included judo programs, two studies contained aikido programs, and two studies contained taekwondo programs. The total number of participants was 1615 (experimental group = 914, control group = 701). Based on the main findings, karate, judo, taekwondo, and aikido programs showed positive effects on the physical fitness of the experimental group of children. According to the results, the effects of these programs showed statistically significant improvements between the initial and final measurements of most of the examined experimental groups. Conclusion: We concluded that martial arts programs were helpful for improving the physical fitness of preschool and school children, especially for parameters such as cardiorespiratory fitness, speed, agility, strength, flexibility, coordination, and balance. Full article
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Other

Jump to: Research, Review

23 pages, 572 KiB  
Systematic Review
Recreational Soccer Training Effects on Pediatric Populations Physical Fitness and Health: A Systematic Review
by Filipe Manuel Clemente, Jason Moran, Rodrigo Ramirez-Campillo, Rafael Oliveira, João Brito, Ana Filipa Silva, Georgian Badicu, Gibson Praça and Hugo Sarmento
Children 2022, 9(11), 1776; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9111776 - 18 Nov 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2819
Abstract
This systematic review analyzed the effects of recreational soccer programs on physical fitness and health-related outcomes in youth populations. Studies were sought in the following databases: (i) PubMed, (ii) Scopus, (iii) SPORTDiscus, and (iv) Web of Science. The eligibility criteria included (1) population: [...] Read more.
This systematic review analyzed the effects of recreational soccer programs on physical fitness and health-related outcomes in youth populations. Studies were sought in the following databases: (i) PubMed, (ii) Scopus, (iii) SPORTDiscus, and (iv) Web of Science. The eligibility criteria included (1) population: youth (<18 years old) populations with no restrictions on sex or health condition; (2) intervention: exposure to a recreational soccer training program of at least four weeks duration; (3) comparator: a passive or active control group not exposed to a recreational soccer training program; (4) outcomes: physical fitness (e.g., aerobic, strength, speed, and change-of-direction) or health-related measures (e.g., body composition, blood pressure, heart rate variability, and biomarkers); (5) study design: a randomized parallel group design. The search was conducted on 6 September 2022 with no restrictions as to date or language. The risk of bias was assessed using the PEDro scale for randomized controlled studies. From a pool of 37,235 potentially relevant articles, 17 were eligible for inclusion in this review. Most of the experimental studies revealed the beneficial effects of recreational soccer for improving aerobic fitness and its benefits in terms of blood pressure and heart-rate markers. However, body composition was not significantly improved by recreational soccer. The main results revealed that recreational soccer training programs that are implemented twice a week could improve the generality of physical fitness parameters and beneficially impact cardiovascular health and biomarkers. Thus, recreational soccer meets the conditions for being included in the physical education curriculum as a good strategy for the benefit of the general health of children and young people. Full article
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19 pages, 1228 KiB  
Systematic Review
Mixed-Methods Systematic Review to Identify Facilitators and Barriers for Parents/Carers to Engage Pre-School Children in Community-Based Opportunities to Be Physically Active
by Rachel L. Knight, Catherine A. Sharp, Britt Hallingberg, Kelly A. Mackintosh and Melitta A. McNarry
Children 2022, 9(11), 1727; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9111727 - 10 Nov 2022
Viewed by 1881
Abstract
Background: Low physical activity levels in young children is a major concern. For children aged 0–5 years, engagement with opportunities to be physically active are often driven by the adults responsible for the child’s care. This systematic review explores the barriers and facilitators [...] Read more.
Background: Low physical activity levels in young children is a major concern. For children aged 0–5 years, engagement with opportunities to be physically active are often driven by the adults responsible for the child’s care. This systematic review explores the barriers and facilitators to parents/caregivers engaging pre-school children in community-based opportunities for physical activity, within real-world settings, or as part of an intervention study. Methods: EBSCOhost Medline, CINHAL plus, EBSCOhost SPORTDiscus, Web of Science, ProQuest, and ASSIA were systematically searched for quantitative and qualitative studies published in English between 2015 and 16 May 2022. Data extracted from 16 articles (485 parents/carers; four countries) were quality-assessed using the Mixed Methods Assessment Tool and coded and themed via thematic analysis. Results: Nine themes (eight core, one minor) were identified and conceptualised into a socio-ecological model, illustrating factors over four levels: Individual—beliefs and knowledge (and parental parameters); Interpersonal—social benefits, social network, and family dynamic; Community—organisational factors and affordability; and Built and Physical Environment—infrastructure. Discussion: The findings provide valuable insights for practitioners and policy makers who commission, design, and deliver community-based physical activity opportunities for pre-school children. Developing strategies and opportunities that seek to address the barriers identified, as well as build on the facilitators highlighted by parents, particularly factors related to infrastructure and affordability, are imperative for physical activity promotion in pre-school children. The perspectives of fathers, socioeconomic and geographical differences, and the importance parents place on physical activity promotion all need to be explored further. Full article
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9 pages, 587 KiB  
Systematic Review
School-Based Exercise Programs for Promoting Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Overweight and Obese Children Aged 6 to 10
by Stefan Mijalković, Dušan Stanković, Mario Tomljanović, Maja Batez, Maki Grle, Ivana Grle, Ivan Brkljačić, Josip Jularić, Goran Sporiš and Suzana Žilič Fišer
Children 2022, 9(9), 1323; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9091323 - 30 Aug 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2127
Abstract
The aim of this study was to conduct a systematic review of the school-based exercise programs for promoting cardiorespiratory fitness in overweight and obese children aged 6 to 10. Electronic databases (Web of Science and PubMed) were used as searching tools for collecting [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to conduct a systematic review of the school-based exercise programs for promoting cardiorespiratory fitness in overweight and obese children aged 6 to 10. Electronic databases (Web of Science and PubMed) were used as searching tools for collecting adequate studies published in the past 20 years. A total of 13 studies met the criteria for inclusion in this review, with a total of 2810 participants, both male and female. According to the results of this systematic review, overweight and obese children aged 6 to 10 who underwent certain interventions had their CRF improved. Furthermore, evidence suggested that interventions carried out during a longer period of time suggested led to greater improvement of cardiorespiratory fitness than a shorter one, but the level of cardiorespiratory fitness gradually decreases after the intervention. Full article
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