Revista Egitania Sciencia - SIEFLAS Edição Especial | ARTICLE


Author: António Manuel Antunes ( * | ** Rui Sousa (*** Rui Osório (*** Sérgio Lopes (*** Hugo Bessa (*** Bernardo Valério (** João Estanqueiro (** Élvio Gouveia (* | **** Gonçalo Marques (* | ** Duarte Freitas (* | *****
* Universidade da Madeira, Funchal, Portugal; ** Secretaria Regional da Educação, Funchal, Portugal; *** Colégio do Marítimo, Funchal, Portugal; **** Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute, Funchal, Portugal ***** Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester, UK
Publication: Revista Egitania Sciencia - SIEFLAS Edição Especial

The aim of this study was to investigate sexual dimorphism, stability and change in somatic growth and motor performance in children, from 3 to 5 years. The sample consisted of 55 students (23 girls and 32 boys) from Colégio do Marítimo. Growth, through weight, height and waist circumference, was measured following the protocol described in The Leuven Growth Study. Motor performance was assessed through Preschool Test Battery. The evaluation was carried out in 2 consecutive school years. The Mann-Whitney test, the Spearman correlation and the Wilcoxon signed rank test were used in the analysis. The height revealed differences (U= 230,0; W= 819,0; p= 0,03) among girls (Md= 107,70) and boys (Md= 104,40) at the 1st evaluation moment, as well as in the following year´s evaluation. The girls had higher (Md= 112,10) mean values than boys (Md= 108,10). In motor performance, statistically significant differences were observed in the throwing of the tennis ball in the two moments of evaluation. The boys (Md= 5,01) launched distances higher than the girls (Md= 3,79) in the 1st and 2nd evaluation (Md= 5,74 e Md= 4,71 moments respectively. The height in girls was the variable that showed greater stability from the 1st to the 2nd evaluation (rho= 0,98). In motor performance, the highest correlations were observed in the scramble for girls (rho> 0,85) and speed run for boys (rho> 0,83). The greatest expression in the change was observed in body weight in girls. (Z= -2,37; p= 0,018). Median scores increased from 3 (Md= 15,4) to 4 years (Md= 17,4). Similar results were observed at height. In motor performance, statistically significant improvements were observed in almost all tests. Exceptions have been observed in horizontal jump (Z= -1,86, p= 0,077; girls), speed run (Z= -1,83, p= 0,068; boys) and tennis ball throw (Z= -1,85, p= 0,064; boys).
Differences between genders in somatic growth and motor performance are present at preschool age. Stability was high in somatic variables and improvements in motor performance were more evident from 4 to 5 years.

Keywords: children, growth, performance

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