Validation of remote assessment of preschool children's anthropometrics and motor skills

Publication Name

Frontiers in Digital Health


Introduction: Remotely delivered treatment and research procedures were rapidly adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is unclear if these measures are valid. The purpose of this study was to compare the validity of anthropometry and motor skill proficiency measurements collected in a remote-setting to in-person setting among a sample of children ages 3–4 years. Methods: Child anthropometry and motor skill performance were measured in-person by trained assessors and by parents at home with remote supervision via videoconference by trained assessors. The following measures from the National Institutes of Health Toolbox were collected: anthropometry (height and weight), manual dexterity/manipulation (9-hole pegboard), motor coordination and agility (supine timed up and go), lower body strength (standing long jump), and postural stability (one-leg standing balance). Differences in expert and parent-based measurements were assessed using Bland-Altman plots, paired samples t-tests, and Pearson correlations. Results: A total of n = 14 children completed the assessments. No significant differences were observed between measurement locations for weight and motor skills (p >.05). Remote measurement of height (M = 101.1 cm, SD = 5.40) was significantly greater than in-person measurements (M = 98.2 cm, SD = 5.16); p <.0001. Discussion: Remote measurements of motor skills and weight are valid assessments for researchers and clinicians to utilize in young children. Remote assessment with guidance offers comparable and valid estimates as in-person assessment, potentially offering a solution to resource-constricted barriers in research and access to care. There is an opportunity for researchers to fine-tune remote height and individual-level assessment strategies.

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Funding Sponsor

National Institutes of Health


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