ERIC Number: ED465467
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2002-Jun
Reference Count: N/A
Rate of Physical Growth and Its Affect on Head Start Children's Motor and Cognitive Development.
Marcon, Rebecca A.
In the United States, growth retardation is higher among low-income children, with adverse cognitive effects of undernutrition more prevalent when combined with poverty. This study examined anthropometric indicators of physical development and their relationship to motor and cognitive development in Head Start children. Motor integration and sequential and simultaneous memory were examined in relationship to rate of physical growth. The sample of 34 rural Head Start children was 59 percent female; 82 percent of the sample was Caucasian; 18 percent was African American. Twenty-six percent of the sample was classified as low birthweight. Anthropometric data were collected monthly. Motor and cognitive measures were administered 4 times at 10-week intervals. Mean anthropometric changes across the 9-month period were graphed. After controlling for age, analyses indicated significant increases in height, body mass index (BMI), and head circumference across the year. Boys and girls were similar on all anthropometric measures but boys' head circumference was greater. Although low-birthweight children were similar to peers in height, they weighed less, and had lower BMIs and smaller arm circumference. Analyses indicated improvement across the school year in three motor and four cognitive measures: visual motor integration, hopping-right foot, finger control, "magic window," word order, matrix analogies, and spatial memory. No cognitive differences were found between boys and girls, and motor differences were limited to girls' great skill at hopping, skipping, and finger control. Relationships between rate of physical growth and memory and motor development were explored further. (Contains 17 references.) (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Anthropometric Tests; Project Head Start
Note: Paper presented at the Head Start Sixth National Research Conference (6th, Washington, DC, June 26-29, 2002). Supported in part by the Human Growth Foundation Small Grants Program.