Early motor development in China: Secular trends among 4-year-olds

Nirmala RAO, Stephanie W. Y. CHAN, Yufen SU, Sheena MIRPURI, Ben RICHARDS, Jin SUN, Zhang LI, Patrick IP

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Changes in physical activity levels and increases in screen time across different cohorts may affect young children’s motor skill development (MSD). This study examined cohort differences in MSD in China. Four-year-olds living in Shanghai and in Guizhou province were assessed, in individual sessions, in 2013 (n = 230) and in 2017 (n = 446). Controlling for age, parental education, gender, height, weight, and overall development, children’s MSD scores were significantly lower in 2017 than in 2013 in both Shanghai and Guizhou. Parental education moderated these differences. Declines in MSD scores may be due to increased screen time, higher levels of air pollution, and decreased access to safe, outdoor spaces. The overall decline in motor skills across both regions suggests that appropriate and timely interventions are needed to support young Chinese children’s MSD. Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-108
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Issue number1
Early online date02 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2023


Rao, N., Chan, S. W. Y., Su, Y., Mirpuri, S., Richards, B., Sun, J., . . . Ip, P. (2023). Early motor development in China: Secular trends among 4-year-olds. Early Child Development and Care, 193(1), 95-108. doi: 10.1080/03004430.2022.2064460


  • Motor skills development
  • Secular trends
  • Early child development
  • China


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