Background: Motor competence and health-related fitness are important components for the development and maintenance of a healthy lifestyle in children. This study examined cross-cultural performances on motor competence and health-related fitness between Portuguese and U.S. children. Methods: Portuguese (n = 508; 10.14 ± 2.13 years, mean ± SD) and U.S. (n = 710; 9.48 ± 1.62 years) children performed tests of cardiorespiratory fitness (Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run), upper body strength (handgrip), locomotor skill performance (standing long jump), and object projection skill performance (throwing and kicking). Portuguese and U.S. children were divided into 2 age groups (6–9 and 10–13 years) for data analysis purposes. A two–factor one–way analysis of covariance (ANOVA) was conducted with the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run, handgrip, standing long jump scores, kicking, and throwing speed (km/h) as dependent variables. Results: Results indicated that Portuguese children, irrespective of sex, presented better performances in locomotor and cardiorespiratory performance (standing long jump and Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run) than U.S. children in both age bands. U.S. children outperformed Portuguese children during throwing and handgrip tests. Kicking tests presented gender differences: Portuguese boys and U.S. girls outperformed their internationally matched counterparts. Conclusion: Cultural differences in physical education curricula and sports participation may impact differences in motor competence and fitness development in these countries.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health ( 1R15HD071514-01A1 and R21HD055621-01A2 ) and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education Research Grant Program.
- Cross-cultural comparison
- Health-related fitness
- Motor competence