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86 percent of disadvantaged preschoolers lack basic motor skills
Date:4/26/2010

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,
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Contact: Jackie Goodway
Goodway.1@osu.edu
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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