INTRODUCTION. Motor skill competence is considered a key determinant of physical activity participation. Since adequate motor competence facilitates a physical active lifestyle, a lack thereof puts less skilled children at risk for developing overweight or obesity. At the same time, excess body weight imposes significant constraints on children’s motor competence, especially gross motor skills and associated body coordination seem to be affected. Accordingly, weight loss may have a beneficial effect on motor skill. METHODS. Thirty-six overweight and obese children (10.5 ± 1.4 years, 12 girls and 24 boys) who participated in a multidisciplinary residential treatment program at a local medical centre were recruited, and 36 age- and gender- matched normal weight children served as controls. Anthropometric measures were recorded and gross motor coordination was assessed by means of the Körperkoordinationstest für Kinder (KTK) on two occasions with a time interval of 4 months. RESULTS. Residential treatment resulted in a significant decrease in body weight for participants in the obese group. Regardless of the test moment, significantly poorer KTK performances were observed in the obese children compared to their normal-weight peers. Although, the obese children displayed a significantly greater increase in KTK scores after a treatment period of 4 months. Within the obese group, the amount of relative weight loss explained 26.9% of the variance in Δ overall KTK performance. CONCLUSIONS. Weight loss can be considered as an important first step in improving obese children’s gross motor coordination, which in turn can promote physical activity participation
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