Journal Article

Association of the onset of self-feeding with subsequent Developmental Coordination Disorder: A prospective cohort study in China


Background: Successful self-feeding reflects the readiness of early motor development and environmental impacts, and the onset of self-feeding as a developmental milestone might be a predictor of subsequent motor development in children. In this study, we explored the association between the onset of self-feeding and childhood risk of Developmental Coordination Disorder in children from one-child and two-child families. Methods: We conducted a data-linkage prospective cohort study from 38 kindergartens in 6 cities in China. A total of 11,727 preschoolers were included in the final analysis and were assessed with the Movement Assessment Battery for Children-second edition (MABC-2) Test. The information on early self-feeding onset was obtained from parents. The mixed and multi-level logistic models utilizing a random intercept were used to investigate the associations between the onset time of self-feeding and subsequent motor performance. Results: The results showed that, compared with those beginning self-feeding at or younger than 12 months of age, children starting self-feeding at 13-24 months, 25-36 months, and later than 36 months, showed a decrease in their total MABC-2 scores of 2.181, 3.026 and 3.874, respectively; and had an increased risk of suspected DCD by 36.0%, 101.6%, 102.6% respectively; they also had 30.2%, 46.6%, 71.2% increased prevalence of at risk of suspected DCD, when adjusting for both child and family characteristics (each p<0.05). Significant associations were observed in fine motor, gross motor, and balance subtests (each p<0.05) in groups with a delayed onset of self-feeding. However, the strength of the associations was mitigated in the fine motor and balance subtests in children with a sibling. Conclusion: The delayed onset time of self-feeding acts as an early behavioural marker for later childhood motor impairment. Moreover, children with a sibling may benefit from additional interaction and their motor developmental pattern may be affected by the presence of a sibling. 

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Hua Jing
Williams, Gareth J.
Barnett, Anna L.
Zhang Jiajia
Jin Hua
Xu Manyun
Chen Juan
Zhou Yingchun
Gu Guixiong
Du Wenchong V.

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development


Year of publication: 2022
Date of RADAR deposit: 2022-04-04

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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