A1 Journal article (refereed)
Environmental Correlates of Motor Competence in Children : The Skilled Kids Study (2019)

Niemistö, D., Finni Juutinen, T., Haapala, E., Cantell, M., Korhonen, E., & Sääkslahti, A. (2019). Environmental Correlates of Motor Competence in Children : The Skilled Kids Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(11), Article 1989. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16111989

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsNiemistö , Donna; Finni Juutinen, Taija; Haapala, Eero; Cantell, Marja; Korhonen, Elisa; Sääkslahti, Arja

Journal or seriesInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health



Publication year2019


Issue number11

Article number1989


Publication countrySwitzerland

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/64493


Environment, physical activity (PA) and motor development are tightly interwoven during childhood. We examined the associations of environmental factors with motor competence (MC) in children. Children (N = 945, 50.1% boys, age = 3–7 years, mean = 5.4 years) from 37 childcare centres in the Southern (n = 17), Central (n = 13) and Northern Finland (n = 7) participated. The environmental factors comprised the geographical location (Southern, Central and Northern Finland) and residential density (metropolitan area, city, rural area and countryside) of the childcare centres’ based on postal codes and the national population density registry. MC was measured using the Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD)-3, as well as by quantifying time spent outdoors and participation in organised sports via parental questionnaire. It was found that children from the countryside had better MC and spent most time outdoors, while children from the metropolitan area most frequently engaged in organised sports. Gender comparisons revealed that girls outperformed boys in locomotor skills, while boys were better in object control skills, had higher TGMD-3 score and spent more time outdoors. Time spent outdoors and participation in organised sports were associated positively with MC, but not in children from the countryside. In conclusion, higher population density was associated with lower MC and less time spent outdoors. The findings suggest that versatile outdoor environments may support motor development through PA.

Keywordschildren (age groups)motor skills (general)physical activityenvironmental factorsresidential environmentoutdoor recreationphysical hobbiesenvironment

Free keywordsmotor competence; geographical location; residential density; outdoor time; participation in sports

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Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2019

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-11-05 at 20:26