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An increasing worldwide concern about a decline in the quality of the motor ability of children was the motivation for this exploratory comparative study. It involves a comparison of the motor ability of children aged 8 and 9 years from Hamburg (n=774), Melbourne (n=141) and Cape Town (n=81). Since each of these global cities represents a typically culturally diverse modern center of population, data were also tentatively analyzed according to ethno-cultural background, as a potential contributing variable to better understand the results of studies such as these. The children's motor abilities were tested by five items from the Allgemeiner Sportmotorischer Test für Kinder or AST 6 - 11 (Bös, Opper, Woll, Liebisch, Breithecker, & Kremer, 2001). Results were analyzed in terms of city and sex by means of a two-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). A composite motor profile was also constructed using all five items. This was then used in a further comparison of major ethno cultural groups within each of the three cities. Differences in motor ability were evident between the children of the three cities. The children from Hamburg demonstrated the highest levels of performance overall and those of Melbourne the lowest. Both sex and ethno-cultural background were significant mediating variables in all contexts. Boys scored higher than girls on the AST 6-11 at all locations. For children of a European background in both Hamburg and Melbourne, a higher performance was identified when compared with their same city peers of Asian origins. The best performing cultural group overall were the Black African (Xhosa) children of Cape Town. The limitations of the study were identified and some suggestions for future comparative studies of motor ability were made.

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access


This is an accepted manuscript.