The role of physical activity and perceived adequacy on cardiorespiratory fitness in children with developmental coordination disorder
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Evidence suggests that children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) have lower levels of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) compared to children without the condition. However, these studies were restricted to field-based methods in order to predict V02 peak in the determination of CRF. Such field tests have been criticised for their ability to provide a valid prediction of V02 peak and vulnerability to psychological aspects in children with DCD, such as low perceived adequacy toward physical activity. Moreover, the contribution of physical activity to the variance in V02 peak between the two groups is unknown. The purpose of our study was to determine the mediating role of physical activity and perceived adequacy towards physical activity on V02 peak in children with significant motor impairments. This prospective case-control design involved 122 (age 12-13 years) children with significant motor impairments (n=61) and healthy matched controls (n=61) based on age, gender and school location. Participants had been previously assessed for motor proficiency and classified as a probable DCD (p-DCD) or healthy control using the movement ABC test. V02 peak was measured by a progressive exercise test on a cycle ergometer. Perceived adequacy was measured using a 7 -item subscale from Children's Selfperception of Adequacy and Predilection for Physical Activity scale. Physical activity was monitored for seven days with the Actical® accelerometer. Children with p-DCD had significantly lower V02 peak (48.76±7.2 ml/ffm/min; p:50.05) compared to controls (53.12±8.2 ml/ffm/min), even after correcting for fat free mass. Regression analysis demonstrated that perceived adequacy and physical activity were significant mediators in the relationship between p-DCD and V02 peak. In conclusion, using a stringent laboratory assessment, the results of the current study verify the findings of earlier studies, adding low CRF to the list of health consequences associated with DCD. It seems that when testing for CRF in this population, there is a need to consider the psychological barriers associated with their condition. Moreover, strategies to increase physical activity in children with DCD may result in improvement in their CRF.