Motor coordination difficulties and physical fitness of extremely-low-birthweight children
Article first published online: 22 SEP 2008
© The Authors. Journal compilation © Mac Keith Press 2008
Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology
Volume 51, Issue 2, pages 136–142, February 2009
How to Cite
BURNS, Y. R., DANKS, M., O’CALLAGHAN, M. J., GRAY, P. H., COOPER, D., POULSEN, L. and WATTER, P. (2009), Motor coordination difficulties and physical fitness of extremely-low-birthweight children. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 51: 136–142. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2008.03118.x
- Issue published online: 15 JAN 2009
- Article first published online: 22 SEP 2008
- PUBLICATION DATA Accepted for publication 25th June 2008.
Motor coordination difficulties and poor fitness exist in the extremely low birthweight (ELBW) population. This study investigated the relative impact of motor coordination on the fitness of ELBW children aged 11 to 13 years. One hundred and nine children were recruited to the study: 54 ELBW participants (mean age at assessment 12y 6mo; 31 male, 23 female; mean birthweight 769g, SD 148g; mean gestational age 26.6 weeks, SD 2.1 weeks) and 55 comparison children (mean age at assessment 12y 5mo; 28 males, 27 females; at least 37 weeks’ gestation). All children completed the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (MABC), functional tests of postural stability and strength, growth measures, and tests of respiratory function. Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) was calculated from a 20m shuttle run test as a measure of fitness. The ELBW group had greater problems with postural stability (p=0.001) and motor coordination (p=0.001), with 70% rated as having a definite motor problem on the MABC brackets (those who scored less than the 5th centile on the MABC). The ELBW was also less fit than the comparison group (p=0.001), with 45% below the 10th centile for VO2max. There were differences between the groups for growth, strength, and particularly respiratory function. However, respiratory function did not significantly correlate with VO2max in the ELBW group. Motor coordination was the most powerful predictor of VO2max in both the ELBW (p=0.001) and the comparison groups (p=0.001).