The present study aimed to assess the effect of age and gender on preschool children’s specific motor skills. Three hundred children (154 boys and 146 girls) aged 60 to 71 months, were divided into two age subgroups (60-65 and 66-71 months) and were examined in three motor tasks: bead threading, shape copying and postural stability, assessing visual motor, graphomotor and balance skills respectively.Results showed a significant effect of age in the graphomotor task, with older children performing better than younger ones. As regard gender, girls scored significantly better than boys on both visual motor and graphomotor tasks, while boys outperformed girls on the balance task. The findings are discussed on the basis of biological (different rates of brain maturation and gender differences in brain structure and function) and environmental (opportunities and encouragement) factors that influence motor behavior.
Children are particularly vulnerable to incidents because of their physical, psychological and behavioral characteristics. As a consequence, injuries are frequent and happen in children’s daily life. The purpose of the current research was to identify the relationship among factors like motor proficiency, accident proneness and injury severity in preschool children. During 2007-2009 an accident surveillance questionnaire was sent to 60 nursery schools of East Macedonia and Thrace (Greece). The total sample of the study was 849 accident reports. Student Injury and Incident Report for use in Swedish Schools questionnaire (Laflamme et al., 1998) was used for the recording of the accidents. Children who had more than one accident in a single school year were detected and tested at the beginning of next school year with the battery ”Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency” (Bruininks, 1978). Two way analysis of variance (two way ANOVA) was applied for analyzing data. The main effect of the factor “number of accident” was the declined in the balance ability (F=7.61, p<.001) at the school year 2007-08. Furthermore, the factor "number of accidents" effect, for the same reason as previously, the response speed (F=12.3, p<.001). Children who had minor severity of injury were significantly better than children who had severe injuries in the balance (F=8.09, MD=4.57, p<.001), in strength (F=12.19, MD=4.59, p<.001), in visual- motor control (F=21.49, MD=6.7, p<.001) and in upper- limb and dexterity (F=12.32, MD=5.76, p<.001). Similar results also indicated during the school year 2008-09 in balance (F=8.45, MD=8.23, p<.001) and in response speed (F=14.11, MD=3.95, p<.001). In conclusion children with poor motor performance represent accident proneness.
The aim of the present study was to investigate the differences in the explosive strength, coordination and speed among the groups formed in 7-year old children according to their body mass index (BMI). A total of 91 children took part in the study and were divided into the following groups, according to their BMI: participants with normal body mass (n=55, height 127.40±5.13, weight 25.71±2.70, BMI ≤17.91), participants with increased body mass (n=17, height 131.88±5.17, weight 33.81±4.44, BMI ranging from 17.93 to 20.62) and obese participants (n=19, height 131.19±4.44, weight 40.25±8.30, BMI ≥20.63). Excessive weight or obesity was defined according to the recommendations of Cole et al. (2000). All of the participants were aged 7.1±4 months and attended elementary schools in the city of Nish in Serbia. In order to evaluate explosive strength, coordination and speed, three tests were utilized for each of the aforesaid abilities. The obtained data were processed using a one-way ANOVA. In the case of significant between-group differences, the Bonferroni post hoc test was utilized. The results revealed statistically significant differences among the scores of the three BMI groups in explosive strength, coordination and speed tests. The greatest one was between the group of children with normal body mass and that of obese children, a finding that was expected. .