Initiation of movement and energy expenditure in children with developmental delay: A case-control study

Chiao Nan Joyce Chen*, Ai Wen Hwang, Shang Ying Lin, Yu Chieh Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review


Background. Lower levels of physical activity in children with developmental delay (DD) usually are attributed to higher energy costs. However, there is no evidence that children with DD spend more energy on daily physical activities, such as walking.Objective. The aim of this study was to compare energy costs during walking and movement initiation times in children with DD and children with typical development (TD) and matched for age.Design. This was a case-control study.Methods. Children who were 3 and 5 years old and had DD (n_12) or TD (n_12) participated in the study. Measurements included ranges of motion in the lower extremities, physiological costs of walking, and movement initiation times. A task designed to evaluate the initiation of movement (the “go play with the toy” task) was used to examine the reaction times for children’s goal-directed walking.Results. The physiological costs of walking were similar in the 2 groups; however, children with DD walked at a lower speed than children with TD. Importantly, children with DD took more time to initiate goal-directed walking.Limitations. The nature of the study design limited causal inference from the results.Conclusions. Children who were 3 to 5 years old and had DD had delays in goal-directed movement that may not have been attributable to motor impairments. The findings suggest that therapists should evaluate the movement initiation ability of 3- to 5-year-old children with DD as part of the design of an overall intervention plan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1434-1442
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical Therapy
Issue number10
StatePublished - 01 10 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 American Physical Therapy Association.


Dive into the research topics of 'Initiation of movement and energy expenditure in children with developmental delay: A case-control study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this