Impact of a multimodal exercise program on tibial bone health in adolescents with Development Coordination Disorder: An examination of feasibility and potential efficacy


Objectives: Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) compromises bone health purportedly due to lower levels of physical activity. The potential of an exercise intervention to improve bone health parameters in adolescents with DCD has not previously been studied. This study thus aimed to determine the impact of a multimodal exercise intervention on bone health in this population at-risk of secondary osteoporosis.

Methods: Twenty-eight adolescents (17 male, 11 female) aged between 12-17 years (Mage=14.1) with DCD participated in a twice weekly, 13-week generalised multimodal exercise intervention. Peripheral quantitative computed tomography scans of the tibia (4% and 66%) were performed over a six month period. Generalised estimating equations were used to examine the impact of fitness measures on bone parameters over time.

Results: An overall improvement trend was observed for bone health, with significant increases at the 66% tibial site for bone mass (4.12% increase, dcohen=0.23, p=0.010) and cortical area (5.42% increase, η2 =12.09, p=0.014). Lower body fitness measures were significantly associated with improvements in bone health parameters, tempered by the degree of motor impairment.

Conclusion: A multimodal exercise intervention may be effective in improving bone health of adolescents with DCD. Given the impact of motor impairments, gains may be greater over an extended period of study.


bone health, developmental coordination disorder, developmental disorder, exercise, physical activity

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