ARCH Lab Publishes Paper on Gross Motor Skills in 3-5 Year-olds Using MY LIFE Study Data

The ARCH Lab recently published another paper using data from the Multimorbidity in Youth across the Life-course (MY LIFE) study titled “A Matched-Pair Analysis of Gross Motor Skills of 3- to 5-Year-Old Children With and Without a Chronic Physical Illness” in the journal Pediatric Exercise Science.

Children ages 3-5 years participating in the MY LIFE study were administered the Peabody Development Motor Scales-second edition. Participants were sex and age matched (20 male and 15 female pairs) to children without a chronic physical illness. Children were asked to complete a variety of age-appropriate gross motor tasks, including kicking/catching/throwing a ball, jumping and walking up stairs.

Authors found that gross motor skills scores were “below average” for 47% of children with a physical illness compared with 9% of children without a physical illness (P = .003). Matched-paired t tests detected significant differences in total gross motor scores (dz = -0.35), locomotor (dz = -0.31), and object control (dz = -0.39) scores, with healthy children exhibiting better motor skills, and no significant difference in stationary scores (dz = -0.19).

The authors highlight the importance of this finding, as this skill gap may place additional burden on children with physical illness. Future research should assess gross motor skills longitudinally to establish whether the gap widens with age.