Volume 5 – 2012

Body mass index, physical activity and dietary habits between young Greek athletes and non-athletes


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the body mass index (BMI), physical activity (PA) and dietary habits of students living in a province of North Greece, who exercised or not exercised regularly and compare the findings to the international guidelines for health. A total of 575 male and female students participated in the study and were divided into sub-groups according to their age (9-13 yrs, n=240 & 14-17 yrs, n=335) and their athletic experience (athletes, n=243 & non-athletes, n=332). The data were collected by the Physical Activity & Lifestyle Questionnaire (PALQ) and the 24 hour Dietary Recall Questionnaire (24hDRQ). Data analysis showed that 85% of male and female athletes met international guidelines of PA for health, accumulating >60′ minutes/day of moderate-vigorous PA (MVPA), as compared to 37% of non-athletes. Moreover, the athletes accumulated significantly more MVPA as compared to their peers who did not participate in organized sports. Eating habits did not differ between athletes and non-athletes, and a percentage of 83% did not meet the international recommendations for a healthy diet. However, no statistically significant differences were found in BMI between athletes and non-athletes. These finding revealed that a significant proportion of the participants did not meet the recommended dietary and PA guidelines of international health organizations, and it seems that regular exercise did not protect young people from the problem of overweight. Thus, it is necessary to implement prevention programs that aim to improve food choices and increase PA.

Motor Skills Performance and Pedometer-Determined Physical Activity in Young Children.


This study examined the association between motor skills and pedometer-determined physical activity in a sample of preschool children. One hundred and seventeen children (61 boys, 56 girls) 5-6 years old (M=67.18 months, SD=3.802) who live in Agrinio, Aitoloakarnania Greece, volunteered to participate in the current study. A trained researcher administered the measurements for the assessment of children’s motor skills by using the Short Form of the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency-2 (BOTMP-SF). Physical activity was assessed by OMRON HJ-720IT pedometers. Based on performance in BOTMP-SF, participants were categorized into three groups, namely, “below average”, “average”, and “above average”. The results showed a statistically significant association between motor skills performance and steps.day-1 (Kruskal-Wallis x2=34.23, p<.001). Comparisons between motor skills categories showed significant differences in steps.day-1 between the "below average" and "average" groups (Mann-Whitney U=50, p<.001) and between "below average" and "above average" groups (Mann-Whitney U=7, p<.001). Results showed that increased levels of children's physical activity encourage and positively affect motor development.

Pedometer determined physical activity of preschool children, during and after school.


The purpose of this study was to describe the sex-specific patterns of preschooler’s daily pedometer-determined physical activity (PA) during (DS) and after (AS) school hours. Τhe random sample of the one hundred and forty four children (71 boys and 73 girls, age = 5 – 6 yr), who attend the kindergartens in Greece, wore pedometers for four days (3 school days and 1 weekend day) and recorded steps during school and after school hours. For the statistical analysis of the data, ANOVAs repeated measures were used. From the results gender seems to be the main effect (F1.142 = 14.937, p < .05) on children's PA. Βoys took significantly (F1.143 =11.193, p=. 001) more steps per day than girls: 5.735 ± 2.820 vs 4.337 ± 2.159 during school. Furthermore, boys took more steps per day than girls: 11.353 ± 5.319 vs 9.586 ± 4.254 steps per day. Consequently, these data give an understanding of the sex-specific patterns of preschoolers' daily pedometer-determined physical activity (PA) during (DS) and after (AS) school hours.

Participation in Sport, Body Mass Index, and Motor Proficiency in 5 to 6 Year Old Children.


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between sports participation (SP) body mass index (BMI) and motor proficiency (MP) in five to six year old children. The sample consisted of 144 children (71 boys and 73 girls) attending public kindergarten in Attici prefecture (Greece) aged 60 to 72 months (Mean=67.47months, SD=3.21). Anthropometric measures of height and weight were obtained for calculation of BMI values. For the assessment of MP, the Bruininks-Oseretsky test of motor proficiency-second edition (BOT-2) was used and parents were questioned about sport participation of the children. For the statistic analysis of the data, a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) and nonparametric correlation (Spearman rho) were used. Statistically significant main effect for gender (F1.132=5.64, p<.05) was found for BOT-2 Total Point Score (TPS), with girls scoring higher than boys (MD=6.44, p<.05). Sport participation was significantly correlated with BOT-2 descriptive category (r =.191, p<.05) but not with BMI types. Consequently, even though the results revealed a tendency for sports participation to affect motor performance positively, in order for SP to affect BMI determined obesity it might need to be in conjunction with increasing regular physical activity in and out of school.

Ways preschool children aged 4-5 years old express their desire to excel


The aim of this study was to examine the ways in which preschool children express competitive behaviors and their desire to excel. In this study 195 preschool children (aged 4-5 years old) took part. The methodology was based on a phenomenological approach and data were collected through observational procedures. The observation included 165 hours during a 10 weeks period in 11 classes. The qualitative analysis of data showed that preschool children may express their desire to excel i) verbally (words and phrases) and ii) physically (movements and gestures). More specifically, they express competitive behaviors mainly: i) by making comparisons, ii) disagreeing with each other iii) intervening during the talk of another child iv) taking the place of another child, v) grabbing objects that another child possesses and vi) pulling, pushing and kicking other children to take their places or their objects. In conclusion, the results of this study show that children in the preschool age demonstrate a variety of antagonistic behavior both verbally and physically.

How is the rhythmic ability of pre-school children affected by the implementation of a music-movement program?


Rhythm and music can be very significant for a person’s development, especially during the early years of life. This study’s aim was to examine the rhythmic ability of 180 preschool children before and after the implementation of a music-movement program. A group of 90 children (45 boys and 45 girls) attended a 6-week intervention program, including two 45-minute lessons per week, whereas the other 90 children (control group) did not attend any kind of program. The High/Scope Rhythmic Analysis Test (Weikart, 1989) was used for the evaluation of rhythmic ability before and after the implementation of the rhythmic program. Girls surpassed greatly the boys in total score in both measures (p< 0.01), and the experiment group surpassed significantly the control group in the final measure (p<0.001). It can be concluded that as long as suitably designed and structured musical movement program- with whole body exercises and games accompanied by rhythmic and musical stimuli- contribute to the progress of the rhythmic ability of pre-schoolers, it's beneficial to be included in their formal education.

The relation between basic movement skills and perceptual-motor skills in 5 to 7 years old children


The main purpose of this study was to examine the correlation between basic movement skills and perceptual motor skills of children using the Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD) developed by Ulrich (1985) and the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (M-ABC) developed by Henderson and Sugden (1992). Therefore we firstly excluded gender effects. Thirdly we looked for differences in results according to the age. A total of 40 children (11 boys and 29 girls), 5 to 7 years of age participated. We found an interaction effect of age on the results of TGMD but the results of the M-ABC showed no interaction effect. The Pearson’s correlation between Gross Motor Developmental Quotient of the Test of Gross Motor Development and Total Impairment Score of the M-ABC was low (r=0.36, p=.000003). In this study it was found that there was no gender effect on the results of TGMD and the results of the M-ABC on the repeated ANOVA results. The correlation between the results of both tests became lower as the age increased.

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