Document Type



Background and aims

In the last twenty years, there has been increasing evidence that Motor Competence (MC) is vital for developing an active and healthy lifestyle. This study analyses the associations between motor competence and its components, with health-related fitness (HRF).


A random sample of 546 children (278 males, mean = 10.77 years) divided into four age groups (7–8; 9–10; 11–12; 13–14 years old) was evaluated. A quantitative MC instrument (evaluating stability, locomotor and manipulative skills), a maximal multistage 20-m shuttle-run test and the handgrip test, height and BMI were used in the analyses. Pearson correlations and standard regression modelling were performed to explore the associations between variables.


Moderate to strong significant correlations (0.49 < r < 0.73) were found between MC and HRF, for both sexes, and correlation values were stable across the age groups. The MC model explained 74% of the HRF variance, with the locomotor component being the highest predictor for the entire sample (β = .302; p < .001). Gender-related differences were found when boys and girls were analysed at each age group. Locomotor MC for girls was the most consistent significant predictor of HRF across all age groups (0.47 < β < 0.65; all p≤.001). For boys, significant predictors were locomotor and manipulative MC (0.21 < β < 0.49; all p < .05) in the two younger age groups (7–8 and 9–10 years) and stability (0.50 < β < 0.54; all p≤.001) for the older two age groups (11–12 and 13–14 years).


These results support the idea that: (1) the relationship between overall MC and HRF is strong and stable across childhood and early adolescence; (2) when accounting for the different MC components, boys and girls show different relationship patterns with HFR across age.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

APA Citation

Luz, C., Rodrigues, L. P., Meester, A. D., & Cordovil, R. (2017). The relationship between motor competence and health-related fitness in children and adolescents. PLOS ONE, 12(6).


© 2017 Luz et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.