Factors influencing the motor development of prematurely born school-aged children in Brazil.


Despite technological advances in neonatology, premature children are still susceptible to disruptions in neurological development. The current study aimed to analyze the factors that influence motor development in prematurely born school-aged children in Brazil. This cross-sectional study involved 100 ‘apparently normal’ children, aged 8-10 years, born at less than 35 weeks of gestation or with birth weight<1500g. Their motor development was assessed using the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (MABC-2). The children's neuropsychological and academic performance was assessed with the Token Test (TT) and Teste de Desempenho Escolar (TDE), respectively. Parents answered questions regarding the child's clinical history and behavior using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and family environment resources (RAF). Hierarchical multivariate analyses revealed that 39% of the children scored lower on the MABC-2, as compared to that expected for their age (manual dexterity: 49%; balance: 35%; throwing/catching a ball: 26%). Multivariate analysis indicated that the lower the birth weight, the maternal age at childbirth, and the RAF score, the greater was the chance of impairment on the MABC-2 scores. The probability of having an impairment MABC-2 scores was four times higher when the mother was not employed. We also found associations between MABC-2 scores and the tasks of tying shoes and opening/closing zippers and buttons. Factors related to children's home environments and birth weight are associated with deficient motor performance in prematurely born Brazilian school-aged children. Deficient motor skills were also associated with difficulty in performing functional tasks requiring greater manual dexterity.