Recently, the topic of motor competence has figured prominently in the media. The claims made are many, but the research that support the statements is seldom cited. The aim of this review article is to address that deficiency by documenting what is really known about the motor competence of children. Motor competence not only allows children to carry out everyday practical tasks, but it is also an important determinant of their level of self-esteem and of their popularity and status in their peer group. While many studies have shown a significant correlation between motor problems and other problems in the social sphere, it has been difficult to establish causal relationships with any degree of confidence, as there appear to be several interactions which need to be taken into account. Research has shown that 6-10% of Norwegian children in the 7 to 10 year age group have a motor competence well below the norm. It is unusual for motor problems to simply disappear over time. In the absence of intervention the syndrome is likely to continue to manifest itself. More recent research points to some of the circularity in this causal network, children with motor problems having been shown to be less physically active than their peers. In a larger health perspective this in itself can have very serious consequences for the child.