Katherine E. Spring, Alexandra V. Carroll, Danielle D. Wadsworth. Auburn University, Auburn, AL.

BACKGROUND: Rates of obesity and severe obesity have increased in young children ages 3 to 5 years. Fundamental motor skills (FMS) are considered the building blocks of movement and are often deficient in overweight and obese children. Most preschool studies have relied on body mass index (BMI), and it is not fully known the role body composition plays in FMS. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine if body composition, fat mass (FM) and fat free mass (FFM) were a predictor of FMS. METHODS: Participants (n = 50) included from two preschools. Peabody Developmental Motor Scales (PDMS-2) subscale scores was used to assess gross motor skills in terms of stationary, locomotion, and object manipulation skills. FM and FFM were measured with foot-to-foot bioelectrical impedance. RESULTS: Participants had a mean age of 3.38 (± .697 years). There was an equal dispersion of males (50%) and females (50%), and most participants were Caucasian (80%). Participants had a mean gross motor quotient of 96.32 (±12.567). Most participants received an “average” score for stationary (60%), locomotor (80%) and object manipulation skills (58%). Results of linear regressions indicate significant models for stationary (F = 7.36, p = .002), locomotor (F = 5.09, p = .010), and object manipulation skills (F = 10.687, p < .001). FM (t = -2,49, p = .040) and FFM (t = 3.80, p < .001) were both significant predictors of stationary skills. However, FFM was the only significant predictor of locomotor (t = 3.033, p = .004) and object manipulation (t = 3.593, p < .001). CONCLUSION: Results of this study indicate that less FM and greater FFM is associated with higher stationary skill scores. These results further indicate that greater levels of FFM are associated with higher locomotor and object manipulation skill scores. This study highlights the need to target young children for obesity prevention, and specifically aim to improve FFM.

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