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Physical activity (PA) is recognized as an important determinant for chronic lifestyle diseases. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) PA is one of the major underlying causes of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) leading to significant global burden of death, disease and disability among teachers and adults. There are many factors that influence PA among school teachers, including physical fitness and motor skill development. Health-related physical fitness includes cardio-respiratory fitness, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility and body composition. Motor skills include elements of locomotor and object-control movements. The aim of the study was to assess health-related physical fitness components and motor skill ability among school teachers in Rivers State, Nigeria. A cross-sectional descriptive survey design was used. A total of 199 (106 female and 93 male) school teachers were tested. The following variables were measured using standardized procedures, teachers’s height and weight, low back flexibility, muscular strength, static abdominal muscular endurance, aerobic fitness and motor skill ability. These factors are thought to influence the quantity and quality of PA thus justifying their inclusion. The study targeted school teachers in both public (n=104) and private schools (n=95). Ethical clearance was obtained from the University Ethics Review Board. Research permits were obtained from the Ministry of Education and Rivers City Council. Consent was sought from the parents of teachers who took part in the study, the teachers also provided assent to participate. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics using SPSS version 17.0. Independent T-tests were used to compare differences in the means of variables. Chi-square tests were used to establish the relationship between categorical variables. BMI cut-offs were based on the recommended

2010 WHO international cut-offs. The results have been presented in tables. A p-value of

0.05 was considered significant. The average age was 9.9 years. Aerobic endurance was significantly associated with sex (p=0.004 [χ 2 = 13.396]) with male performing better than female. Flexibility was significantly associated with sex p<0.0001 (χ 2 = 25.33), female were more flexible than male. Teachers with good motor skill ability were the more physically fit compared to their counterparts. The prevalence of overweight and obesity was 24.2%. Males showed a better motor performance than females. Regarding motor skills, 28.6% of the teachers were at the beginning level, 55.3% progressing, only 4% and 3% were achieving and excelling respectively. 38.2% had very low cardiovascular fitness, 31.7% progressing, 11.6% were achieving and 9.5% excelled, 46.2% had low torso muscular endurance while only 2.5% were excelling. Overall, the teachers had average scores in motor skill ability, aerobic endurance, muscle strength, muscle endurance, and body composition. Their performance in flexibility was above average. Improving teachers’s motor skill ability may be a good target for increasing PA in adult. A longitudinal study exploring the relationship between changes in health-related fitness and motor skill ability should be carried out so as to establish the effect of time on the variables. Also, a similar study targeting rural teachers and peri-urban kids could also be interesting.



1.1  Background to the Study

Development and refinement of movement skills through a variety of PA is a normal part of growth and functional development (Malina et al., 2004). Fundamental movement patterns develop during preschool ages and with maturation and growth, these movement skills progressively become integrated and coordinated into more difficult PA performances that characterize different free play and games through school years (Strong et al., 2005).

Two variables of interest to this study are motor competence and physical fitness. However, while they are sometimes considered to be determinants of PA, they are also described as PA outcomes. High levels of correlation between body mass index and fatness health-related physical fitness are sometimes assumed to result from a high PA level (Castelli & Valley, 2007). While motor competence and physical fitness are personal attributes, PA is a behavior and as such is determined by more psychosocial influences than the first two (Rowland, 2005). Studies show strong associations between aerobic fitness and reduced cardiovascular disease risk in teachers and adolescents (Wedderkopp et al., 2003). The association is less clear with PA. The reciprocity of PA–health related fitness–motor skill ability relationship is not clearly understood and often overlooked. For example, without some level of motor skill ability and physical fitness, teachers are limited in the amount and range of PA they can undertake (Bouffard et al., 1996).

Motor skill ability is often defined in terms of proficiency in common gross motor skill including object control and locomotor skill development. The relationship between motor skill ability and PA will strengthen over developmental time (Stodden et al., 2008). In general, teachers with very poor coordination or motor skills are less active (Bouffard et al., 1996) and less fit (Hands & Larkin, 2006) than typically developing peers. On the other hand, teachers with high levels of motor competence are more physically active, fitter and less sedentary (Castelli & Valley, 2007).

Physical fitness comprises a number of components (aerobic endurance, muscle strength, muscle endurance, flexibility, and body composition) and there is no clear and consistent association between all measures of fitness and PA. While many studies have found PA strongly related to aerobic fitness (Raudsepp & Jurimae, 1998; Castelli & Valley, 2007), only weak relationships have been observed with other measures of health-related fitness

(Pate et al., 1990; Sallis et al., 1993) including body fatness (Parsons et al., 1999). Anecdotal evidence and media reports suggest that a PA transition is emerging in many developing countries (Ang’awa, 2009; Njung’e, 2009; IRIN, 2009). The problem appears to be related to urbanization (Ziraba et al., 2009), reduced lifestyle-embedded PA, and an increase in sedentary behaviour (Duda et al., 2009).

Data on the habitual PA and physical fitness among teachers particularly among populations in developing countries is on the rise. The PA transition has been identified as a behavioural shift from traditionally active lifestyle to more industralised and sedentary lifestyle (Muthuri et al., 2014; Onywera et al., 2012). Exacerbating the fight against the PA transition and commensurate rise in teacherhood obesity is the strong socio-cultural beliefs in many developing countries that obesity, or “roundness,” is something to be revered and a sign of wealth and prestige (Onywera, 2010). The study had the objective of assessing the motor skill ability and health related variables in teachers in Rivers State using a protocol called the Canadian Assessment of Physical Literacy (CAPL).

CAPL is the first comprehensive test battery that can accurately and reliably assess all four core domains of physical literacy. Physical literacy is the capacity of an individual to adopt and maintain a physically active lifestyle. It is conceived to result from a multi-dimensional interaction of factors that facilitate lifelong healthy PA behaviour. As such, it is a constellation of skills, knowledge, and attitudes that when combined together enable a physically active lifestyle, in the same way that reading, writing and other skills are combined for language literacy (CAPL, 2013).


Figure 1.1: The Core Domains of Physical Literacy

SOURCE: Adapted from the CAPL Manual 2012

The four core domains of physical literacy as shown in the Figure above are:

  • PA Behaviour (objectively measured daily PA, self-reported sedentary activity).
  • Physical fitness (endurance, strength, flexibility, body composition).
  • Motor skill (kicking, throwing, skipping, hopping, sliding, running and catching).  Cognition (knowledge, attitudes/motivation).

This study involved teachers aged between  because they do not yet have fully mature gross motor abilities, they are generally prepubertal, and are able to read and follow instructions.

  • Statement of the Problem

There is currently paucity of comprehensive, objective, empirical or valid measurement protocol to assess motor skill ability among teachers in Nigeria. This absence limits and diminishes the potential impact of quality physical education in Nigerian schools. With the increase in sedentary lifestyles, the dangers associated with it also increase. Being able to assess the current situation in respect to health-related fitness and motor skill ability will therefore go a long way into mitigating the current situation. Further, no study on the prevalence of health-related physical fitness components and motor skills ability of school teachers has been done in Nigeria to date; this study might help to fill these gaps.

The CAPL protocol was adopted from Canada and adopted to the Nigerian context.

  • Purpose of the Study

The study aimed to assess health-related physical fitness components and motor skills ability among school teachers in Rivers State, Nigeria.

  • Objectives

This study was guided by the following objectives:

  1. To assess the correlation between body mass index and fatness health-related physical fitness among teachers in rivers state, Nigeria.
  2. To determine levels of selected health-related physical fitness components,

including aerobic endurance, muscle strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition of school teachers in Rivers State, Nigeria.

  • To compare motor skill abilities and health-related fitness between male and

female in Rivers State, Nigeria.

1.5  Research Questions

The following were the proposed research questions:

  1. What are the correlation between body mass index and fatness and health-related physical fitness among teachers in rivers state, Nigeria a?
  2. What are the levels of the selected health-related physical fitness components (aerobic endurance, muscle strength, muscle endurance, flexibility, and body composition) of school teachers in Rivers State, Nigeria?
  • How do motor skill abilities and health-related fitness components differ

between male and female?

  • Significance of the Study

This study may contribute to the understanding of the current motor skill ability and healthrelated physical fitness of school teachers in Rivers State, Nigeria. The findings from the study might also act as a guide to physical education curriculum developers (influence policy and practice) for designing a curriculum that incorporates PA in the curriculum which would help improve (or preserve) the fitness and motor skills of the teachers. This study will also contribute to the general body of knowledge in PA.

  • Delimitations of the Study

The study was delimited to able bodied teachers aged between  who provided assent and consent to participate and attended either public or private primary schools in Rivers State, Nigeria.



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