Faculty Publications

Body Fatness And Motor Performance During Preadolescence

Document Type



Body composition, Body fatness, Motor performance, Norms, Preadolescence, Pullups, Sex differences, Standing long jump, Vertical jump

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport





First Page


Last Page



Performance differences between males and females have been attributed to both biological and cultural factors, although the relative significance of each has not been ascertained. Differences in body fatness between males and females has been frequently mentioned as one biological factor responsible for variations in physical performance. In children, it has been shown that beys exhibit slightly higher performance levels than girls until adolescence, when the differences favoring the boys become greater. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between selected physical performance tests and body fatness in preadolescent boys and girls. Measures of age, height, weight, skmfold thicknesses at two sites, and performance scores on the vertical jump, standing broad jump, modified puUup, 40-yard dash, and 400-yard run were obtained on 563 elementary school children. The results of a one-way ANOVA indicated that there was a significant difference between boys and girls on all of the physical performance tests. Although the boys were slightly taller and heavier and scored better than the girls on the performance tests, there was no significant difference between the sexes in the sum of two skmfolds. Separate regression equations for the sum of two skinfolds by performance on each test indicated that, with the exception of the modified pullup test, body fatness was only marginally related to performance. These findings indicated that, although inversely related to the ability to move the total body weight, body fatness was of minimal importance in explaining performance differences between young boys and girls. © 1982 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation

Original Publication Date


DOI of published version