Navigation Links
86 percent of disadvantaged preschoolers lack basic motor skills

COLUMBUS, Ohio Disadvantaged urban preschoolers aren't only at risk for failure in the classroom they are likely to struggle on playgrounds and athletic fields as well, research suggests.

A new study found that more than eight out of every ten disadvantaged preschoolers from two urban areas showed significant developmental delays in basic motor skills such as running, jumping, throwing, and catching.

That means that they are at risk of giving up on physical activities and becoming obese teenagers and adults, said Jackie Goodway, lead author of the study and associate professor of physical activity and educational services at Ohio State University.

"These fundamental motor skills running and catching and throwing and kicking are the movement ABCs," Goodway said.

"If children don't learn the ABCs, they can't read. And if they don't learn basic motor skills they won't participate in sports or exercise. That's the problem we may be facing with the children in this study."

Goodway conducted the study with two of her former doctoral students: Leah Robinson, now at Auburn University and Heather Crowe, now at Towson University. Their study appears in a recent issue of the journal Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport.

The researchers studied 469 preschool students enrolled in urban, state-funded programs serving disadvantaged youth. Included were 275 children, mostly African American, from a Midwestern city and 194 children, mostly Hispanic, from a southwestern city.

The children were evaluated using a standardized test of motor skills. They participated in tests of locomotor skills which included running, jumping, hopping, leaping, sliding and galloping. They were also evaluated on object control skills through tests of throwing, catching, kicking, striking, dribbling and rolling.

Results showed that 86 percent of the children scored below the 30th percentile of children nationwide, which is considered developmentally delayed.

While girls and boys had similar scores on the locomotor skills, girls did significantly worse than boys on object control activities in which they used an object such as a ball or a bat. Boys' average scores were at the 22nd percentile on object control, while girls' were at the 11th percentile.

In general, girls of every socioeconomic category perform more poorly than boys do in the object control tests, Goodway said. However, disadvantaged girls do much worse than do other girls on these tests.

These findings may surprise people who believe children don't need instruction in motor skills, Goodway said.

"Most people, even many educators, believe that motor skills just naturally develop in children, but our study shows that's clearly not true," Goodway said.

"Like any skill, there needs to be instruction, there needs to be practice, there needs to be feedback. That's how children master these motor skills."

The problem is that children from disadvantaged, urban neighborhoods don't get the opportunities that other children have to play outside in parks and backyards where they can learn how to run and jump and catch footballs and dribble basketballs.

"Their parks may be full of gangs, they don't have backyards that are safe, they are often raised by single mothers who are working multiple jobs and don't have time to supervise them outside," Goodway said.

"These children spend most of their time sitting in school and then going home and sitting in front of the TV."

While the children in this study were mostly minorities, Goodway said the results would apply to any children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

"Ethnicity doesn't matter. It's about poverty," she said.

Goodway said she has developed an intervention program to help preschoolers like those in this study and is currently studying its effectiveness. Preliminary results suggest that disadvantaged children who are taught motor skills as preschoolers can make "huge gains."

She said she hopes that Head Start and other programs designed for disadvantaged preschoolers begin to include more physical education as part of what they offer. Preschool teachers also need to learn more about teaching motor skills.

"We have a window of opportunity during early childhood when we can teach disadvantaged children motor skills and help get them back to where they need to be," Goodway said.

"But once they get to late elementary school, it is very hard to changed their attitudes and behaviors."


Contact: Jackie Goodway
Ohio State University

Related biology news :

1. New study warns limited carbon market puts 20 percent of tropical forest at risk
2. Restless legs syndrome affects nearly 2 percent of US/UK children
3. SinuNase Phase 3 show almost 100 percent of chronic sinusitis cases are from fungal-induced inflamma
4. Gene, stem cell therapy only needs to be 50 percent effective to create a healthy heart
5. 100 percent of people carry at least 1 type of pesticide
6. Nitrogen pollution boosts plant growth in tropics by 20 percent
7. Dust in West up 500 percent in past 2 centuries, says CU-Boulder study
8. Aerodynamic trailer cuts fuel and emissions by up to 15 percent
9. Over 50 percent of oceanic shark species threatened with extinction
10. TAU announces new supercenter for renewable energy
11. Major progress in technology needed for 25 percent renewable energy use to be affordable
Post Your Comments:
(Date:5/16/2016)... May 16, 2016   EyeLock LLC , a ... the opening of an IoT Center of Excellence in ... expand the development of embedded iris biometric applications. ... of convenience and security with unmatched biometric accuracy, making ... aside from DNA. EyeLock,s platform uses video technology to ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... BANGALORE, India , April 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: INFY ), and ... global partnership that will provide end customers with ... banking and payment services.      (Logo: ... area for financial services, but it also plays a fundamental ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... 2016 The new GEZE SecuLogic ... web-based "all-in-one" system solution for all door components. It ... the door interface with integration authorization management system, and ... The minimal dimensions of the access control and the ... installations offer considerable freedom of design with regard to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Newly ... technologies, services and solutions to the healthcare market. The company's primary focus is ... manufacturing, sales and marketing strategies that are necessary to help companies efficiently bring ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... on a range of subjects including policies, debt and investment ... Speaking at a lecture to the Canadian Economics ... the country,s inflation target, which is set by both the ... "In certain areas there needs to be frequent ... not sit down and address strategy together?" He ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... WA (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... announces the release of its second eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention ... recruitment and retention in this eBook by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- A person commits a crime, and the detective uses ... criminal down. An outbreak of foodborne illness makes ... uses DNA evidence to track down the bacteria that caused ... not. The FDA has increasingly used a complex, cutting-edge technology ... Put as simply as possible, whole genome sequencing is a ...
Breaking Biology Technology: