Doctoral student Megan Irwin was selected for a 2015 SHAPE America Research Council Graduate Student Research Award for her work entitled “Motor Competence and Physical Activity in School-Age Children: A Meta-Analysis.”
The Graduate Student Research Award is awarded to outstanding authors and presenters of a research program for the SHAPE America National Convention. The award is intended to recognize and encourage graduate student scholarship. Irwin was recognized at the SHAPE America National Convention & Expo in Seattle, Washington March 17 – 21 at the Charles H. McCloy Research Lecture and Breakfast on March 19. She was one of three authors selected for the award among 80 authors of accepted papers.
In her meta-analysis, Irwin sought to examine what the current literature supports regarding the relationship between motor skills competence and different levels of physical activity intensity in children 5 to 10 years old.
“The research indicates that sedentary activity is negatively correlated with gross motor competence, meaning children with poor skill development spend more time in sedentary activities like reading, watching TV, or playing video games,” Irwin said. “Children who were more skilled tend to spend more time engaged in higher intensity activities such as tag or kickball.”
A major question left to be answered is whether engagement in an activity drives competence, or whether competence drives engagement in an activity. This is an area Irwin plans to continue to study throughout her career.