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Pediatrics. 2009 Oct;124(4):e782-92. doi: 10.1542/peds.2009-0333. Epub 2009 Sep 7.

Efficacy of interventions to improve motor development in young children: a systematic review.

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  • 1Child Obesity Research Centre, Faculty of Education, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia.



The objective of this study was to systematically review evidence from controlled trials on the efficacy of motor development interventions in young children.


A literature search of interventions was conducted of 14 electronic databases. Three reviewers independently evaluated studies to determine whether they met the inclusion criteria. Studies were compared on 5 components: design, methodologic quality, intervention components, efficacy, and alignment with the Consolidated Standard of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) and Transparent Reporting of Evaluation with Nonrandomized Designs (TREND) statements.


Seventeen studies met the inclusion criteria. More than half (65%) were controlled trials and delivered at child care settings or schools (65%). Three studies had high methodologic quality. Studies were approximately 12 weeks in duration and delivered by teachers, researchers, and students. Parents were involved in only 3 studies. Nearly 60% of the studies reported statistically significant improvements at follow-up. Three studies aligned with the CONSORT and TREND statements.


This review highlights the limited quantity and quality of interventions to improve motor development in young children. The following recommendations are made: (1) both teachers and researchers should be involved in the implementation of an intervention; (2) parental involvement is critical to ensuring transfer of knowledge from the intervention setting to the home environment; and (3) interventions should be methodologically sound and follow guidelines detailed in the CONSORT or TREND statement.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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