Associations between children’s physical literacy and well-being: is physical activity a mediator?

Background: Physical literacy (PL) is a multi-dimensional concept that provides a holistic understanding of movement and physical activity. PL contains an afective, a physical, and a cognitive domain, which together lay the foundation for the individual’s capacity and the tendency for participating in physical activities currently and throughout
life. PL is increasingly regarded as a ‘cause of the causes’ to health promotion. Cross-sectional studies have shown associations between children’s PL, physical activity behaviours, and well-being. This study aims to examine the associations between Danish children’s PL and their physical and psychosocial well-being and whether the associations are
mediated by moderate- to vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA).

Methods: Cross-sectional data from Danish schoolchildren aged 7–13 years were collected in Jan-Dec 2020 in the
Danish Assessment of Physical Literacy (DAPL) project. PL was assessed with the DAPL which measures the afective,
cognitive, and physical domains of PL. MVPA (min/day) was measured with accelerometers (Axivity), psychosocial
well-being was measured with The Strengths and Difculties Questionnaire, and physical well-being was measured
with the KIDSCREEN questionnaire. Structural equation models were constructed with PL and MVPA as predictors of
physical well-being and four aspects of psychosocial well-being.

Results: A positive moderate association between PL and physical well-being, partly mediated by MVPA was
observed. PL was positively associated with the positive aspects of psychosocial well-being and negatively associated
with the negative aspects (behaviour problems). None of the associations between PL and aspects of psychosocial
well-being were mediated by MVPA.

Conclusions: The study contributes to evidence on the link between PL, physical activity, and health outcomes. The
study found beneficial relations between PL and physical and psychosocial well-being. MVPA mediated part of the
relationship between PL and physical well-being but not psychosocial well-being.

Lead Researchers

Link to Publication


  1. Mark S. Tremblay

    Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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