Physical activity and fitness in children with developmental coordination disorder: a systematic review

Res Dev Disabil. 2011 May-Jun;32(3):894-910. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2011.01.017.


Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by poor motor proficiency that interferes with a child's activities of daily living. Activities that most young children engage in such as running, walking, and jumping are important for the proper development of fitness and overall health. However, children with DCD usually find these activities challenging. A systematic review of the literature was conducted to synthesize the recent available data on fitness and physical activity in children with DCD, and to understand the extent of the differences between children with DCD and their typically developing peers. Systematic searches of electronic databases and reference lists identified 40 peer-reviewed studies meeting the inclusion criteria. These studies were reviewed in terms of: (a) study design, (b) population, (c) assessment tools, (d) measures, and (e) fitness and physical activity outcomes. It has been demonstrated that body composition, cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength and endurance, anaerobic capacity, power, and physical activity have all been negatively associated, to various degrees, with poor motor proficiency. However, differences in flexibility were not conclusive as the results on this parameter are mixed. Studies' limitations and the impact of results on future work are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Humans
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Motor Skills Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*