Study links lack of activity to poor motor coordination in kids

Braga, Portugal – Spending too much time engaged in sedentary behavior increases a child's odds of having poor motor coordination, concludes a study from the University of Minho.

Researchers measured the activity levels and coordination of 213 Portuguese children ages 9-10 in 2010, according to the study abstract. On average, kids spent 75.6 percent of their time engaged in sedentary behaviors, such as watching TV or sitting at a computer.

Compared with their active peers, girls who spent three-quarters of their time engaged in sedentary behaviors were 4-5 times less likely to have normal motor coordination skills, which include walking, throwing and catching. The impact was greater on sedentary boys, who were 5-9 times less likely to have normal motor coordination skills than active boys, according to a press release.

Researchers noted that childhood is a critical time for motor coordination development, and a sedentary lifestyle has a negative effect on these skills, as well as on fitness, self-esteem and obesity risk.

The study was published online Aug. 15 in the American Journal of Human Biology.

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