A Narrative Review of Motor Competence in Children and Adolescents: What We Know and What We Need to Find Out

Luís Lopes, Rute Santos, Manuel Coelho-E-Silva, Catherine Draper, Jorge Mota, Boris Jidovtseff, Cain Clark, Mirko Schmidt, Philip Morgan, Michael Duncan, Wesley O'Brien, Peter Bentsen, Eva D'Hondt, Suzanne Houwen, Garret Stratton, Kristine De Martelaer, Claude Scheuer, Christian Herrmann, António García-Hermoso, Robinson Ramírez-VélezAntónio Palmeira, Erin Gerlach, Rafaela Rosário, Johann Issartel, Irene Esteban-Cornejo, Jonatan Ruiz, Sanne Veldman, Zhiguang Zhang, Dario Colella, Susana Póvoas, Pamela Haibach-Beach, João Pereira, Bronagh McGrane, João Saraiva, Viviene Temple, Pedro Silva, Erik Sigmund, Eduarda Sousa-Sá, Manolis Adamakis, Carla Moreira, Till Utesch, Larissa True, Peggy Cheung, Jaime Carcamo-Oyarzun, Sophia Charitou, Palma Chillón, Claudio Robazza, Ana Silva, Danilo Silva, Rodrigo Lima, Isabel Mourão-Carvalhal, Zeinab Khodaverdi, Marcela Zequinão, Beatriz Pereira, António Prista, César Agostinis-Sobrinho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Lack of physical activity is a global public health problem causing not only morbidity and premature mortality, but it is also a major economic burden worldwide. One of the cornerstones of a physically active lifestyle is Motor Competence (MC). MC is a complex biocultural attribute and therefore, its study requires a multi-sectoral, multi-, inter- and transdisciplinary approach. MC is a growing area of research, especially in children and adolescents due to its positive association with a plethora of health and developmental outcomes. Many questions, however, remain to be answered in this field of research, with regard to: (i) Health and Developmental-related Associations of MC; (ii) Assessment of MC; (iii) Prevalence and Trends of MC; (iv) Correlates and Determinants of MC; (v) MC Interventions, and (vi) Translating MC Research into Practice and Policy. This paper presents a narrative review of the literature, summarizing current knowledge, identifying key research gaps and presenting questions for future investigation on MC in children and adolescents. This is a collaborative effort from the International Motor Competence Network (IMCNetwork) a network of academics and researchers aiming to promote international collaborative research and knowledge translation in the expansive field of MC. The knowledge and deliverables generated by addressing and answering the aforementioned research questions on MC presented in this review have the potential to shape the ways in which researchers and practitioners promote MC and physical activity in children and adolescents across the world.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021

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