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Impact of Anthropometry, Bone Health and Vitamin D Status on Motor Performance of School Aged Children Born at Term With Low-birth Weight

Posted:  Monday, October 17, 2016

Anthropometry, Bone Health and Vitamin D Status: Impact on Motor Performance in Children Born at Term With Low-birth Weight

Infancy and early childhood are crucial periods of growth and development. India has a significant number of infants born with low-birth weight (LBW) as well as children aged <5 years who are unable to meet their full developmental potential. This study published in BMJ Open investigated the effect of anthropometry, bone health and vitamin D status on the motor performance of school going children born with LBW.

This cross-sectional, follow-up study included 912 children aged five years who had previously participated in a trial that investigated the effects of vitamin D supplementation during the first six months of life of LBW infants. Gross motor development was assessed using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) gross motor scale and different measures of motor performance. The impact of vitamin D status, anthropometry, early growth and diet on gross motor development and performance was the primary outcome.

Children with stunted growth (height-for-age Z-score [HAZ] <−2) showed slower run time and a greater likelihood of failing the ASQ compared to non-stunted children. A faster run time and increased ability to perform squats and stands (in 15 seconds) was associated with greater arm muscle area (AMA). This result was found to be independent of contributing factors such as early growth, diet and socio-economic status. A lower tibia ultrasound Z score (representing bone health) was associated with greater hand grip strength. Vitamin D status was not found to be associated with motor development or performance. In addition, no association between motor outcomes and current body mass index or early growth was found.

The study concluded that height and AMA have the strongest association with gross motor outcomes of school going children born at term with LBW, the main mechanism of which relates to simple physics rather than individual factors contributing to height and AMA.

News Source: Filteau S, Rehman A, Yousafzai A, et al. Associations of vitamin D status, bone health and anthropometry, with gross motor development and performance of school-aged Indian children who were born at term with low birth weight. BMJ Open. 2016;6(1):e009268.