Graduate Program

Kinesiology and Sports Studies

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Jill D. Owen

Thesis Committee Member

Scott M. Ronspies

Thesis Committee Member

Hasan F. Mavi


A factor of how much physical activity a child gets could be determined by the level of mastery of fundamental movement skills that are needed for the establishment of skills used in many forms of adult physical activity. Children who master a number of fundamental movement skills are more likely to be physically active and they also may be more likely to take part in physical activity when being compared to peers with a lesser level of motor skill proficiency. Children who are considered overweight tend to engage less often in physical activities, which in turn may prevents them from acquiring fundamental movements skills. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between Body Mass Index (BMI) and fundamental movement skills in children ages 5 to 7 in a rural school system. The following two research questions were formulated: Does the performance of locomotor and manipulative fundamental movement skills differ by gender among kindergartner and first grade students? Does the performance of locomotor and manipulative fundamental movement skills differ by BMI levels among kindergartner and first grade students? The results indicated that there was a significant difference for gender in the performance of manipulative skills. Males (M=12.38, SE=.701) outperformed females (M=9.14, SE=.627) in manipulative skills. On the other hand, the second hypothesis was not supported. There was no significant difference between children of "normal weight" and those who are "overweight" or "obese" when it comes to performance of fundamental movement skills. Overall, of the 39 students included in this study that were grouped according to gender, there was no significant difference when comparing BMI and fundamental movement skills among boys and girls alike. On the other hand, there was a statistical significance when comparing gender and fundamental movement skills. This research is important for physical educators, parents, teachers, and coaches in order to have a better understanding of a potential relationship between fundamental movement skill development and BMI levels as well as gender differences in the performance of locomotor and manipulative motor skills among early elementary age children.

Included in

Kinesiology Commons