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Trajectories of cardiorespiratory fitness in children with and without developmental coordination disorder: a longitudinal analysis
  1. John Cairney1,2,3,
  2. John Hay3,
  3. Scott Veldhuizen2,
  4. Brent E Faught3
  1. 1Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neuroscience, Family Medicine, Kinesiology, and CanChild, Centre for Childhood Disability Research, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2Health Systems Research and Consulting Unit, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3Department of Community Health Sciences, Brock University, St Catharines, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr John Cairney, Department of Family Medicine, 175 Longwood Road South, Suite 201A, Hamilton, ON L8P 0A1, Canada; cairnej{at}


Objective To compare the longitudinal trajectories of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) in children with probable developmental coordination disorder (DCD) with those of typically developing children.

Setting School-based study, conducted in a large region of Ontario, Canada. 75 out of a possible 92 schools (83%) consented to participate.

Participants A cohort of children, enrolled in grade 4 (mean 9 years 11 months; SD 0.05) at baseline (n=2278) were followed twice-yearly over a 2-year period.

Measures The short form of the Bruininks–Oseretsky test of motor proficiency was used to identify children with probable DCD and the Leger shuttle run to measure maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max).

Results Mixed-effects modelling was used to estimate the change over time in predicted VO2max for both children with probable DCD and typically developing children. For all children, VO2max declined over time. Children (boys and girls) with probable DCD not only had lower VO2max at baseline compared with typically developing children, VO2max declined among these children at a much steeper rate.

Conclusion Although previous research has found children with DCD to have poor CRF compared with typically developing children, most of this work has relied on cross-sectional designs to examine group differences. The results of this study confirm that differences in CRF between children with and without probable DCD persist over time, highlighting the concern that DCD is a risk factor for poor cardiovascular health in children.

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  • Funding This study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained from the parents.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was obtained from the District School Board of the region and from Brock University.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.