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Keywords:

  • Developmental coordination disorder;
  • Prevalence;
  • school age;
  • secular change;
  • sex differences

Abstract

Aim

To evaluate changes in prevalence of impaired motor coordination among 6-year-olds of a geographically defined area in Germany between the years 1990 and 2007.

Methods

Data from the obligatory school entrance examinations in the German state of North Rhine Westphalia between the years 1990 and 2007 were used. The number of children assessed per year varied from 81 517 to 124 086. The classification of impaired motor coordination was based on the combination of standardized screening and physicians’ clinical impression of need of treatment. Logistic regression modelling was performed to evaluate the changes in prevalence of impaired motor coordination.

Results

Between 1990 and 2007, the prevalence of impaired motor coordination rose from 2.5% to 8.9% in boys and from 0.8% to 3.6% in girls. As the standard error of these percentages is below 0.15%, the changes are highly statistically significant.

Conclusion

The prevalence of impaired motor coordination tripled during the last decades in North Rhine Westphalia. This may imply that the prevalence of Developmental Coordination Disorder also increased. Factors that may explain the increasing prevalence include the increase in surviving preterm infants, increasing parental age at child birth, maternal and child obesity and decreasing child mobility.