Benefits of early development of eye–hand coordination: Evidence from the LOOK longitudinal study

Authors

  • R. D. Telford,

    1. Medical School, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia
    2. Academic Unit of Internal Medicine, Canberra Hospital, Canberra, ACT, Australia
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  • R. B. Cunningham,

    1. Fenner School of Environment and Society, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia
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  • R. M. Telford,

    Corresponding author
    • Centre for Research and Action in Public Health, Faculty of Health, University of Canberra, Bruce, ACT, Australia
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  • L. S. Olive,

    1. Research School of Psychology, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia
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  • D. G. Byrne,

    1. Research School of Psychology, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia
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  • W. P. Abhayaratna

    1. Medical School, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia
    2. Academic Unit of Internal Medicine, Canberra Hospital, Canberra, ACT, Australia
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Corresponding author: Richard D. Telford, Academic Unit of Internal Medicine, Canberra Hospital, PO Box 11, Woden, ACT 2606, Australia. Tel: +61 2 6244 2811, Fax: +61 2 6244 4647, E-mail: rtelford@cominst.org.au

Abstract

We investigated longitudinal and cross-sectional relationships between eye–hand coordination (EHC) and cardiorespiratory fitness (multistage run), physical activity (pedometers), percent body fat (%BF, dual energy x-ray absorptiometry), body image, and organized sport participation (questionnaires) in 406 boys and 384 girls at 8 and 10 years of age. EHC was measured by a throw and wall-rebound catch test involving 40 attempts of increasing difficulty. Median EHC improved during two years from 18 to 32 (boys) and 9 to 24 (girls), and gender differences and improvements were both significant (P < 0.001). Cross-sectional analyses showed that boys and girls with better EHC were fitter (P < 0.001), and a longitudinal relationship showed that girls who improved their EHC over the two years became fitter (P < 0.001). There was also evidence that children with better EHC possessed a more positive body image (P = 0.05 for combined sex data), but there was no evidence of any relationships between EHC and %BF or PA (both P > 0.3). Finally, even at age 8 years, boys and girls participating in organized sport possessed better EHC than non-participants. These data provide evidence for the premise that early acquisition of this single motor skill promotes the development of a child's fitness, body image, and participation in sport.

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