OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to systematically review evidence from controlled trials on the efficacy of motor development interventions in young children.
METHODS: A literature search of interventions was conducted of 14 electronic databases. Three reviewers independently evaluated studies to determine whether they met the inclusion criteria. Studies were compared on 5 components: design, methodologic quality, intervention components, efficacy, and alignment with the Consolidated Standard of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) and Transparent Reporting of Evaluation with Nonrandomized Designs (TREND) statements.
RESULTS: Seventeen studies met the inclusion criteria. More than half (65%) were controlled trials and delivered at child care settings or schools (65%). Three studies had high methodologic quality. Studies were ~12 weeks in duration and delivered by teachers, researchers, and students. Parents were involved in only 3 studies. Nearly 60% of the studies reported statistically significant improvements at follow-up. Three studies aligned with the CONSORT and TREND statements.
CONCLUSIONS: This review highlights the limited quantity and quality of interventions to improve motor development in young children. The following recommendations are made: (1) both teachers and researchers should be involved in the implementation of an intervention; (2) parental involvement is critical to ensuring transfer of knowledge from the intervention setting to the home environment; and (3) interventions should be methodologically sound and follow guidelines detailed in the CONSORT or TREND statement.