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Improvements in motor competence skills are associated with improvements in executive function and math problem-solving skills in early childhood


Efforts to increase moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in school-age children are associated with improved health, cognitive, and academic outcomes. However, questions remain about whether similar benefits are observed in early childhood. We hypothesized that motor competence, not MVPA, would be related to improved cognitive and academic skill development in early childhood. For this study, 283 children were recruited from 13 community-based preschools (55% female; M = 4.2 years old, SD = .6; 41% non-Hispanic White, 37% non-Hispanic Black; 10% Hispanic, 10% mixed race, 2% Asian, 1% American Indian). Children’s physical activity, motor competence, executive function (EF), and math problem-solving skills were measured using the same protocol in three assessments in a single academic year (i.e., fall, winter, spring). (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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