Most children in NSW struggle with basic movements like throwing, running and jumping because they spend too much time indoors, a landmark study has found.
More than 90 percent of year two students surveyed did not have the basic motor skills expected of their age group.
Though seven-year-old children should have mastered a basic sprint, vertical jump, side gallop and leap, only 10 percent had all four skills.
Half the students still struggled with a sprint in high school, while many teen girls never mastered throwing, kicking and catching.
Study leader Louise Hardy blames lack of exercise in childhood for the worrying lack of motor skill development.
She says children without basic movement skills were prone to becoming overweight or obese, had lower fitness levels and were less likely to enjoy playing with their friends.
To protect kids from these outcomes, Hardy recommends parents spend time teaching their kids to throw, run and catch and not assume they will learn by osmosis.
''We keep emphasising the amount of time per day children spend on physical activity, but if kids don't have the capacity to engage in those physical activities it might suggest that we should be measuring other parameters, such as their ability to run, jump and throw, first,'' Hardy said.
''Parents mistakenly believe that children naturally learn those fundamental movement skills. But children need to be taught them.''
The study — which was published in the journal Paediatrics looked at nearly 7000 students in NSW from year two to 12.
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