Health Promotion in a Low-income Primary School: Children with and Without DCD Benefit, but Differently

Phys Occup Ther Pediatr. 2015 May;35(2):147-62. doi: 10.3109/01942638.2015.1009230.


Poor motor performance and reduced physical fitness are characteristic of children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). These features have also been identified more frequently among children living in low socio-economic circumstances.

Aims: To evaluate the outcomes of a nine-week health promotion program (HPP) on the motor performance and fitness levels of children (6-10 years) with and without DCD attending a low-income primary school.

Methods: The HPP was designed and implemented by undergraduate physiotherapy students using guidelines from the World Health Organization School Health Initiative and their physiotherapy curriculum. Children with DCD (n = 22) and a control group without DCD (n = 19) participated in the evaluation. Motor skill, functional strength, aerobic capacity, and anaerobic power were measured at baseline and after nine weeks.

Results: Both groups of children improved on all measures at the conclusion of the HPP. Children with DCD showed greater improvement than the control group in motor performance and the control group showed greater improvement on one of the anaerobic fitness outcomes.

Conclusions: A school-based HPP that focuses on increasing opportunities for physical activity may be effective in improving motor performance in children with DCD and can increase fitness levels in general.

Keywords: DCD; Developmental coordination disorder; Intervention; fitness; health promotion; motor skill; physiotherapy; school-based.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Female
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Motor Skills Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Muscle Strength
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Physical Therapy Specialty
  • Poverty Areas*
  • Running
  • School Health Services
  • Schools
  • South Africa
  • Task Performance and Analysis