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Open Access Open Badges Research article

The association between functional movement and overweight and obesity in British primary school children

Michael J Duncan12*, Michelle Stanley1 and Sheila Leddington Wright1

Author affiliations

1 Coventry University, Coventry, UK

2 Department of Biomolecular and Sports Sciences, Coventry University, Coventry, CV1 5FB, UK

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Citation and License

BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation 2013, 5:11  doi:10.1186/2052-1847-5-11

Published: 15 May 2013



The purpose of this study was to examine the association between functional movement and overweight and obesity in British children.


Data were obtained from 90, 7–10 year old children (38 boys and 52 girls). Body mass (kg) and height (m) were assessed from which body mass index (BMI) was determined and children were classified as normal weight, overweight or obese according to international cut offs. Functional movement was assessed using the functional movement screen.


Total functional movement score was significantly, negatively correlated with BMI (P = .0001). Functional movement scores were also significantly higher for normal weight children compared to obese children (P = .0001). Normal weight children performed significantly better on all individual tests within the functional movement screen compared to their obese peers (P <0.05) and significantly better than overweight children for the deep squat (P = .0001) and shoulder mobility tests (P = .04). Overweight children scored significantly better than obese in the hurdle step (P = .0001), in line lunge (P = .05), shoulder mobility (P = .04) and active straight leg raise (P = .016).

Functional movement scores were not significantly different between boys and girls (P > .05) when considered as total scores. However, girls performed significantly better than boys on the hurdle step (P = .03) and straight leg raise (P = .004) but poorer than boys on the trunk stability push-up (P = .014).


This study highlights that overweight and obesity are significantly associated with poorer functional movement in children and that girls outperform boys in functional movements.

Functional movement screen; Movement patterns; Mechanics; Weight status