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Minerva Pediatrica 2008 June;60(3):277-84


Environmental effects on school age child psychomotricity

Cappellini A. C. 1, Mancini S. 1, Zuffellato S. 1, Bini F. 1, Polcaro P. 2, Conti A. A. 2, 3, Molino Lova R. 2, Macchi C. 2, 3

1 Department of Anatomy Histology and Legal Medicine University of Florence, Florence, Italy 2 Don Carlo Gnocchi Foundation, Florence, Italy 3 Department of Medical and Surgical Critical Care University of Florence, Florence, Italy


Aim. This study had the following aims: to verify whether children living in different environmental areas present a different development degree of the functional prerequisites of psychomotricity; to test whether a targeted psychomotricity education program could favourably modify the potential differences which may be observed; to investigate the relationship, if any, between the anthropometric differences and the functional prerequisites of psychomotricity.
Methods. One hundred and sixty-five Italian children, 83 males and 82 females, 6-7 years old were enrolled in this study. Based on the provenance area, the children were subdivided into two groups: the urban one (N=85) and the rural one (N=80). Both groups underwent an initial psychomotor assessment including standardised psychomotor tests aimed at evidencing the general dynamic coordination ability and the static and dynamic balance capacity of every child.
Results. The findings of this research point out that children living in an urban setting selectively showed a lower degree of balance development, if compared to children living in rural areas; a targeted psychomotor education program favourably modified the differences in the balance development between the two examined groups, up to their disappearance. In the urban group the body mass index had a trend towards a negative relationship with balance development.
Conclusion. Children grown up in an urban environment showed a delay in balance development, if compared to children of the same age grown up in rural areas. This study also clearly proves that such a delay may be regained by means of a targeted psychomotor education program.

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