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Obesity and Motor Skills

Here is another interesting topic to me. Just read some research from 2008 Neuroscience Letters indicating that obese and overweight children had decreased fine motor control when compared to normal weight peers. Fine motor skills were decreased more when postural challenges were present (standing on balance beam while doing peg activity.

In addition, Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly reports on recent research that concluded obese children scored significantly less than overweight or normal peers on the MABC in ball skills, balance and manual dexterity.

Pondering today if therapists consider this when evaluating overweight and obese children. If using standardized testing to determine eligibility, should it be taken into account that it may be “normal” for overweight children to score below age level? If motor skill deficits are noted along with decreased muscle strength, functional deficits, sensory issues and more how much motor skill gains can we expect if the obesity is not addressed simultaneously?

Reference: Eva D’Hondt, Benedicte Deforche, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, Matthieu Lenoir Relationship Between Motor Skill and Body Mass Index in 5- to 10-Year-Old Children
APAQ, 26(1), January 2009

Reference: Eva D’Hondt, Benedicte Deforchea, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuija and Matthieu Lenoira (2008) Childhood obesity affects fine motor skill performance under different postural constraints Neuroscience Letters
Volume 440, Issue 1, 25 July 2008, Pages 72-75