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Commentary on “Relationship Between Participation in Leisure Time Physical Activities and Aerobic Fitness in Children With DCD”

Ganley, Kathleen PT, PhD; Miles, Cindy PT, PhD, PCS

Author Information
doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e3182a6fcf2

“How could I apply this information?”

The results of this study are immediately applicable by therapists who work with children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD). Increased participation in leisure time physical activity (LTPA) should be a health-related goal in the treatment plan for children with DCD. Furthermore, the Modified Activity Questionnaire may be a valuable outcome measure in quantifying LTPA. Compared with children who are developing typically (DT), children with DCD had progressively lower levels of aerobic fitness with increasing age; hence, clinicians should use valid and reliable measures of aerobic fitness longitudinally throughout and between episodes of care, and therapeutic exercises that focus on endurance should be considered.

The results of this article suggest that fewer than 50% of all children in the study met global physical activity recommendations.1 Physical therapists could consider service models and/or professional activities that have the potential to promote increased activity in clinical and nonclinical populations. Examples include community advocacy, education, and outreach.

“What should I be mindful about when applying this information?”

Even though children with DCD differed from children who were DT in nonorganized and vigorous LTPA, optimal levels of activity within these categories and cutoff values between acceptable and unacceptable values are unknown. In both groups of children, VO2 max estimates, which the authors used to define aerobic fitness, exceeded healthy cutoff values in similarly aged children.2 However, the interaction between groups and age suggests that as children with DCD become adolescents they are at increased risk of falling below these cutoffs. Additional fact sheets are available on the role and scope of pediatric physical therapy in fitness, wellness, and health promotion.3,4

Kathleen Ganley, PT, PhD

Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona

Cindy Miles, PT, PhD, PCS

Cindy Miles & Associates, Whitehall, Pennsylvania


1. Carrel AL, Bowser J, White D, et al. Standardized childhood fitness percentiles derived from school-based testing. J Pediatr. 2012;1:120–124.
2. Welk GJ, Laurson KR, Eisenmann JC, Cureton KJ. Development of youth aerobic-capacity standards using receiver operating characteristic curves. Am J Prev Med. 2011;41(4 suppl 2):S111–116.
3. Section on Pediatrics, American Physical Therapy Association. Resources on fitness for young children. Published 2008. Accessed April 29, 2013.
4. Section on Pediatrics, American Physical Therapy Association. The role and scope of pediatric physical therapy in fitness, wellness, health promotion, and prevention. Published 2012.
© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins and the Section on Pediatrics of the American Physical Therapy Association.