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Rev Bras Fisioter. 2011 Mar-Apr;15(2):138-45.

Relationship between very low birth weight, environmental factors, and motor and cognitive development of children of 5 and 6 years old.

[Article in English, Portuguese]

Author information

  • 1Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Physical Education, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil.



To examine the relationships between birth weight, preterm birth, environmental factors and the motor and cognitive development of 5 to 6 year-old children.


A case control study in which the motor and cognitive performance, as well as the home environment of children aged 5-6 years, born pre-term and weighing <1.500 grams, were compared to peers born full-term and with normal weight. The following testes were used: Movement Assessment Battery for Children (MABC), the Developmental Coordination Disorder Questionnaire (DCDQ), the vocabulary and cube tests of the Weschsler Intelligence Test for Children-III (WISC), the Swanson, Nolan and Pelham IV Scale (SNAP IV) and the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment (HOME).


50.54% of the very low birth weight (VLBW) children died and 15.2% of them demonstrated severe impairments. The scores (±SD) of the VLBW and normal birth weight (NBW) groups were: HOME 33.83±7.81(VLBW), 39.61±8.75(NBW); MABC 8.17±7,10(VLBW), 3.06±3.80(NBW); DCDQ 54.0±11.3(VLBW), 63.0±7.5(NBW); WISC Cubes 8.35±2.15(VLBW), 10.57±2.25(NBW); WISC Vocabulary 9.61±2.62(VLBW), 13.48±2.45(NBW); SNAP IV 4.04±4.95(VLBW), 1.57±3.27(NBW). Significant differences between the groups were found, with higher scores on all measures for the NBW group. The results of the motor and cognitive tests demonstrated correlations with birth weight (p<0.01) and HOME scores (p<0.05).


The findings reaffirmed the evidences that children born pre-term and with VLBW were more vulnerable to have motor and cognitive impairments, compared to those born full-term. Environmental factors appeared to interfere with development of these children.

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