Is Movement Proficieny the Precursor to Physically Active Behaviour and Health? An Investigation of the Relationship between Fundamental Movement Skills, Physical Activity and Health in Singapore Primary School Children

Project Number
OER 41/12 SM

Project Duration
December 2012 - November 2016


Physical education (PE) is an integral part of the curriculum in Singapore primary schools. The revised PE curriculum proposed by the Ministry of Education highlights fundamental movement skills (FMS) as a distinct domain of student education and development. However, despite the strong thrust of movement skill development in the primary school PE curriculum, there is apparently no structured data on the FMS proficiency levels of Singapore primary school children. Studies have shown that the physical activity levels in Singapore primary as well as secondary school children are alarmingly low and raise the concern of negative health outcomes in the long term. Pilot studies on Singapore pre-school children have shown a strong relationship between motor skill proficiency and activity levels. Despite the evidence suggestive of a positive relationship between FMS, physical activity and health, the relationship between FMS proficiency, physical activity and health has not been examined yet. This proposed study aims to describe the FMS proficiency in Singapore primary school children and to measure physical activity and health indicators of the participants. The study will also determine the effect of an intervention programme on short-term and long-term FMS proficiency and its effect of PA behaviour and health. The study would be conducted in two phases. Phase 1 will involve about 220 primary school children of 6-10 years of age from four schools located in different parts of Singapore. In this phase, the FMS proficiency will be measured using the Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD-2). In addition, the daily PA of the participants for one week and indicators of health would be measured in this phase. Phase 2 will involve a 20-week FMS-based intervention programme delivered in two parts of 10 weeks each. The students would be randomly allocated to control and experiment groups with about 64 children in each group. The experiment group will have either school-based or both school- and home-based intervention. The FMS proficiency, PA and health would be measured in the three groups before and after each 10-week period. Lastly, the same assessments will be done 24 weeks after the intervention programme to determine the long-term retention of FMS skills. For the baseline (pre-intervention) data, descriptive statistics and frequencies of the dependent variables will be determined. A group by gender MANOVA on the raw FMS proficiency scores will be conducted to examine group and gender differences prior to the intervention programme. The association between the FMS scores indices of PA and health will be determined using Pearson correlation. Furthermore, the differences in these indices of PA and health will be tested by quartiles of FMS scores using Kruskal-Wallis test. To assess the effectiveness of the intervention programme on FMS proficiency development, a group by order by time multivariate analysis of variance with repeated measures on time will be performed. The level of significance would be set at p< 0.05. All data and research outcomes would be reported in accordance with the guidelines of the CONSORT 2010 statement for reporting parallel group randomized trials.

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