Physical activity in young children at risk for developmental coordination disorder Academic Article uri icon

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  • AIM: To examine cross-sectional differences in patterns of daily physical activity accumulation between preschool children at risk for developmental coordination disorder (DCD) compared to typically developing children. METHOD: In total, 514 children (292 males, 222 females; 4-5y) were recruited as part of the Coordination and Activity Tracking in CHildren (CATCH) study. Motor competence was assessed using the Movement Assessment Battery for Children, Second Edition; children scoring ≤5th centile comprised the probable DCD group (pDCD, n=87), between the 6th and 16th centile were considered to be at risk for DCD (rDCD, n=149), and >16th centile were considered typically developing (n=278). Seven-day physical activity was measured using hip-worn accelerometers. Average daily intensity of activity, frequency, and duration of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) bouts, and triaxial activity counts per minute were determined. RESULTS: No differences in daily activity in any intensity or axis of movement were found among the three groups. However, young children with pDCD accumulated their MVPA in slightly shorter bouts compared to typically developing children. INTERPRETATION: Young children at risk for DCD are not yet in an activity deficit. This may be because of the low motor skill demands of play in this age group. Early motor interventions may be able to promote continued physical activity participation in children with DCD. WHAT THIS PAPER ADDS: Preschool children at risk for developmental coordination disorder (DCD) are not less active than their peers. Overall intensity and frequency of daily activity bouts are similar among motor groups. Children with probable DCD accumulate their activity in shorter bouts.


  • King‐Dowling, Sara
  • Kwan, Matthew YW
  • Rodriguez, Christine
  • Missiuna, Cheryl
  • Timmons, Brian W
  • Cairney, John

publication date

  • April 8, 2019