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Active Voice: Increasing Motor Skill Performance, Not Physical Activity, In Preschool Children is Possible with Joyful Activities

from By Kristina Roth, Ph.D.

Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.

Kristina Roth, Ph.D., is a physical education scientist, physical education teacher and a researcher at the University Children’s Hospital Würzburg, Germany. Her research focuses on the cross-sectional association and the longitudinal effects of physical activity intervention on motor skill performance, physical activity and health in children.

This commentary presents Dr. Roth’s views on the topic of a research article which she and her colleagues published in the December 2015 issue of
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise® (MSSE).

Reduced physical activity and motor skills in children remain a major public health concern, as these issues are associated with several cardiovascular risk factors and overweight status. However, we also know that motor skill acquisition and physical activity play key roles in child development and promotion of health. In particular, the preschool period seems to be a key phase for prevention and numerous intervention studies have been implemented and evaluated all over the world. Some intervention strategies focusing on preschool settings show great promise for prevention. However, the answers to some questions are still lacking: can a child-appropriate preschool intervention program with individualized components led by the preschool teachers be effective, especially in the long run? Also, are there some persisting positive effects? A randomized controlled trial with an intervention phase lasting one academic preschool year gave us the opportunity to provide answers to these questions. more

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