Year of Publication


Date of Thesis


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Exercise and Sport Sciences


With child fitness levels on the decline and obesity on the rise, it is important for a parent to correctly perceive his/her child's physical competence, fitness level, and weight status. The purpose of this study was to examine relationships between perceived physical competence, fitness level, and obesity in children, and the ability of a parent to perceive his/her child's perception of physical competence and weight status. In Tompkins County, NY, 28 children (age = 9.61 ± 0.50) and parent (age = 41.74 ± 7.01) pairs served as subjects. The Self-Perception Profile for Children (SPPC) was used to assess the child's perception of physical competence. A parent completed the same survey as he/she believed his/her child would respond. A one-mile run/walk test estimated the child's fitness level. and body mass index (BMI) estimated weight status. Statistical analysis showed that parents accurately assessed child physical competence and weight status. The parent SPPC score was significantly lower for the less fit child and higher for the fit child, which suggests that the parent knew his/her child's physical abilities better than the child. Children, on the other hand, scored themselves differently. The low fit (below Healthy Fitness Zone) children perceived themselves to be as physically competent as the physically fit children (within Healthy Fitness Zone). These results indicate that the perception of physical competence in low fit children does not correspond to actual fitness level and may indicate a lack of understanding in low fit children about the recommended minimum fitness level. In the future, it would be beneficial to track and intervene with children who think they are physically competent, but in reality, do not meet recommended minimum fitness standards.



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