Beth Rizzardo’s MSc Thesis Proposal

Title: “Examining Early Childhood Gross Motor Skill Proficiency in Children Born Young-for-Date”

Supervisor: Dr. Shannon Bredin (Kinesiology)
Committee Members: Dr. Darren Warburton (Kinesiology), Dr. Carolyn McEwen (Kinesiology)

Abstract: Rates of preterm birth continues to rise in the developing world, and it is now considered to be a global public health concern. While infants are surviving at younger gestational ages (due to advances in modern medicine), the majority of children born preterm in Canada continue to be those born moderate to late preterm. To date, the long-term consequences of moderate to late preterm birth has not been thoroughly examined with respect to gross motor skills, especially at age 5-6 years, coinciding with a critical period in motor development. The purpose of this investigation is to assess the gross motor competence of 5-6 year old children born early preterm and moderate to late preterm without any known neurological disorder or physical disability. To examine gross motor proficiency in children born preterm, children 5 to 6 years of age will be recruited according to two groups: early preterm (n = 10 females, 10 males) and moderate to late preterm (n = 10 females, 10 males). Anthropometric measures (height, weight, and waist circumference) will be collected, as well as demographic information via a questionnaire. Gross motor proficiency will be examined using the TGMD-2 and the children will be assessed on 6 locomotor and 6 object control skills. A 2 (Group: Early preterm, Moderate to Late Preterm) x 2 (Sex: Female, Male) ANOVA will then be conducted to examine Gross Motor Proficiency as a function of gestational age and sex. The information generated through this research will add to the body of knowledge on outcomes of children born preterm while addressing gaps in the literature regarding the gross motor competency of this population at age of school entry. This area of research is important as the knowledge may be used to tailor both preventative measures and intervention strategies to the needs of preterm-born children.