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Efficacy of gross motor skill interventions in young children: an updated systematic review
  1. Sanne L C Veldman1,
  2. Rachel A Jones1,
  3. Anthony D Okely1,2
  1. 1Early Start Research Institute, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Sanne L Veldman; slcv960{at}


Objective The objective of this study was to provide an update of the evidence on the efficacy of gross motor development interventions in young children (0–5 years) from 2007 to 2015.

Methods Searches were conducted of six electronic databases: PUBMED, Medline (Ovid), ERIC (Ebsco), Embase, SCOPUS and Psychinfo. Studies included any childcare-based, preschool-based, home-based, or community-based intervention targeting the development of gross motor skills including statistical analysis of gross motor skill competence. Data were extracted on design, participants, intervention components, methodological quality and efficacy.

Results Seven articles were included and all were delivered in early childhood settings. Four studies had high methodological quality. Most studies used trained staff members/educators to deliver the intervention (86%) and five studies lasted 18 weeks or more. Six studies reported statistically significant intervention effects.

Conclusions Despite the proven importance of gross motor skill development in young children and the recommendations made in the previous review, this review highlights the limited studies evaluated to improve such key life skills in young children over the past 8 years.

Trial registration number CRD42015015826.

  • Children
  • Children and exercise
  • Physical activity
  • Review

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