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close this bookActivity, Energy Expenditure and Energy Requirements of Infants and Children (International Dietary Energy Consultative Group - IDECG, 1989, 412 pages)
close this folderThe relationship between undernutrition, activity levels and development in young children
close this folder5. Preliminary findings from a study of nutritional supplementation and psychosocial stimulation of stunted children
View the document(introductory text...)
View the document5.1. Developmental levels
View the document5.2. Activity levels
View the document5.3. Relationship between activity and development
View the document5.4. Dietary intakes
View the document5.5. Conclusions

5.3. Relationship between activity and development

The relationship between the children's activity ratings and development was examined. Separate multiple regression analyses of the activity rating were calculated, using in turn DQs and each subscale quotient as independent variables. In each regression, age was entered first, then the developmental measure followed by group (stunted/non-stunted). The proportions of variance in activity ratings explained by the quotients are shown in Table 6.

Table 6. Percentage of variance in activity ratings explained by age, developmental and subscale quotients, and group

Independent variables

Quotient used





34.7 ++

6.4 +



34.7 ++

14.0 ++


Hearing & speech

34.7 ++


4.7 ++

Hand & eye

34.7 ++


4.6 ++


34.7 ++


3.5 +

+ p < .05
++ p < .01

Once age was controlled for, DQ explained a significant proportion of variance (6.4%). The only subscale to explain a significant proportion was locomotor, which explained a larger proportion (14%) than DQ. It would appear that the relationship between development and activity is mostly attributable to locomotor ability. Once age and either DQ or the locomotor quotient were controlled for, there was no difference between the groups in activity.

We cannot determine from these cross-sectional data whether locomotor ability predicts activity or vice versa. However, it would seem likely that locomotor ability in this age range is a potent determinant of activity level. The activity observations were repeated six months later, and when these data will be fully analyzed the relationship should be clearer.