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Risk for Developmental Coordination Disorder Correlates with Gestational Age at Birth


Jin Liang Zhu, Section of Epidemiology, Department of Public Health, University of Aarhus, Bartholins Allé 2, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark. E-mail:


Background:  Studies suggest that children born very preterm have a high risk of developmental coordination disorder (DCD). We examined the relation between the larger spectrum of gestational age at birth and the risk of DCD.

Methods:  We used the 7-year follow-up data from 22898 singletons in the Danish National Birth Cohort. We calculated a total score from the Developmental Coordination Disorder Questionnaire (DCDQ), incorporated in the 7-year follow-up, and defined children with a score of 46 or below as having probable DCD. Information on gestational age was obtained from the Medical Birth Register.

Results:  Gestational age at birth was inversely associated with the risk of DCD; a decline in gestational age by a week was associated with a 19% [95% confidence interval 14%, 25%] increased risk of DCD screening positive among children delivered before 40 weeks. No significant increased risk of DCD was seen for children born post-term.

Conclusion:  Our data indicate that short gestational age at birth in a range up to gestational week 37 is related to an increased risk of DCD.