Melbourne, Nov 24 : Being good at manipulating a ball at the age of 10 could be the key to physically active life, according to new study. "This study has shown that motor skills have an impact on later activity and fitness," ABC Science quoted Australian public health specialist, Lisa Barnett from the University of Sydney, who conducted the study, as saying.
For the study, Barnett and her colleagues followed 276 children from age 10 to age 16 in schools in northern New South Wales.
They compared what happened to groups of children who developed different skills at the age of 10.
One group developed proficiency at hopping, side galloping and vertical jumping - so-called movement skills.
Another group developed proficiency at kicking, catching and throwing a ball - labelled "object control" skills.
The researchers found that 10-year-olds who were good at object control skills were more fit when they reached age 16, than those who were not as good.
These children did more sports that require these skills, as well as other activities such as swimming, aerobics, dancing, bike-riding and skateboarding.
"The kids that had better [object control] skills when they were younger were more likely to participate in any sort of activity as adolescents," said Barnett.
The researchers also found that developing proficiency at movement skills (hopping, side-galloping and vertical jumping) at the age of 10 did not lead to more active 16-year-olds.
The study also found the 16-year-olds who were good at object control skills at the age of 10 believed they were better at sports and physical activities than others who weren't.
Barnett believes that being good at manipulating a ball, or some other object, gives children a better self-image when it comes to sport and this makes them more likely to be active people.
"Their skill level at 10 helped to determine how they felt about their own physical competence at 16," said Barnett.
The study is published in the Journal of Adolescent Health online.