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Res Dev Disabil. 2011 Jul-Aug;32(4):1332-42. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2011.01.040. Epub 2011 Feb 21.

The risk of reduced physical activity in children with probable Developmental Coordination Disorder: a prospective longitudinal study.

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Newcomen Centre, Guy's Hospital, Great Maze Pond, London SE19RT, United Kingdom.


The aim of the current study was to test the hypothesis that children with probable Developmental Coordination Disorder have an increased risk of reduced moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), using data from a large population based study. Prospectively collected data from 4331 children (boys=2065, girls=2266) who had completed motor coordination testing at 7 years and accelerometry at 12 years were analysed from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Probable DCD (p-DCD) was defined, using criteria based on the DSM IV classification, as those children below the 15th centile of the ALSPAC Coordination Test at seven years who had a functional impairment in activities of daily living or handwriting, excluding children with a known neurological diagnosis or IQ<70. Secondary exposure variables consisted of subtests from the ALSPAC Coordination test (manual dexterity, ball skills and balance). Objective measurement of the average daily minutes of MVPA was recorded as ≥3600 counts per minute (cpm) using actigraph accelerometry. Boys with p-DCD were less physically active than boys without DCD (mean difference in MVPA 4.36 cpm, t=2.69; p=0.007). For boys, targeting skill (bean bag toss) was related to increased MVPA, after adjustment for confounding factors including neonatal, family and environmental factors as well as Body Mass Index at age seven and 12 years (β=0.76, t=3.37, p<0.001, CI 0.32-1.20). There was no difference in level of MVPA in girls with and without p-DCD (mean difference 1.35 min, t=0.97, p=0.31), which may reflect the low levels of MVPA of girls in this cohort. Our findings suggest that the presence of movement difficulties, particularly poor targeting (bean bag toss/ball skills), at a young age is a potential risk factor for reduced MVPA in boys.

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