Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate health-related fitness and physical activity levels of seven-to 10-year-old children with histories of preterm birth.
Methods: Twenty-two children, aged seven to 10 years, that were born five to 10 weeks preterm were recruited into the study and matched based on age, gender, race, and body mass index to control group subjects who were born full term. Components of health-related fitness, body composition, flexibility, muscular strength and endurance, cardiorespiratory endurance, and physical activity levels were examined.
Results: No differences were found between the groups in total skinfold measures, flexibility, peak O2 consumption, or level of reported physical activity. There were significant differences in all subtests of the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: Although significant differences in motor proficiency were found by school age the children born preterm did not demonstrate activity limitations or participation restrictions. Physical therapists can advise parents of children born five to 10 weeks preterm that in all probability their school-age child will not be limited in sport team or physical activity involvement and can achieve expected levels of cardiovascular fitness.