Objectively Measured Physical Activity in Children With Developmental Coordination Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2024 Jun 18:S0003-9993(24)01055-4. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2024.06.002. Online ahead of print.


Objective: To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to understand the difference in objectively measured physical activities (PAs) between children with and without developmental coordination disorder (DCD).

Data sources: A systematic literature search of 4 databases (PubMed, Science Direct, Web of Science, and Cochrane library) was conducted in July 2023.

Study selection: Studies that met the following criteria were considered classified children with DCD based on Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), DSM-IV-Text Revision, or DSM-V diagnosis criteria, evaluated PA using objective measurements and provided the amount of time spent in PA and/or sedentary behavior, included a control group of typically developing children, and written in English.

Data extraction: Data extracted from all included studies were: first author's surname and publication year, study design, country, total sample size, the measure of PA, the intensity of PA, categories of PA level, and main finding(s).

Data synthesis: Twelve articles met the inclusion criteria for the systematic review, 10 of which were included in the meta-analysis. The overall mean difference in moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) between 2 groups was -0.17 (95% CI, -0.25 to -0.09), (I2=48.7%, P=.029). A subgroup analysis by age (ie, school-aged vs. preschool) showed a significant pooled effect size with no heterogeneity in school-aged children (ie, 6-14y) (standardized mean difference=-0.27, 95% CI, -0.38 to -0.16, I2=43.1%, P=.08).

Conclusions: Children with DCD spent significantly less time participating in MVPA, particularly those aged between 6 and 14 years. These findings highlight the need for increased awareness among parents and physicians regarding insufficient participation in PA among children with DCD.

Keywords: Accelerometry; Age effect; Developmental coordination disorder; Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity; Rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Review