Premature birth and motor milestones: the importance and use of adjusted age

  • Beth M M Rizzardo University of British Columbia
  • Shannon S.D. Bredin University of British Columbia
Keywords: Adjusted Age, Infographic


In early childhood, gross motor development is assessed and followed in accordance to motor milestones, which provide a timeline for when children typically acquire various movement skills. Motor milestone acquisition reflects and depends on the development of the central nervous system. However, commonly used motor milestone charts are based on the development of children born full-term. While children born premature acquire motor milestones in the same sequential nature as children born full-term, they often exhibit delays in the emergence of motor milestones. These delays are often attributed to immaturity of the central nervous system. As such, it is important when monitoring the motor development of children born preterm, that time  for the system to catch up developmentally to their full-term peers is taken into account and timelines adjusted accordingly. Adjusting for age is a method to account for prematurity, by subtracting how preterm a child was born from their chronological age. It is important for parents and health professionals alike to understand how to calculate adjusted age, which supports the importance of creating and disseminating resources in the area. This infographic and accompanying summary provides information on adjusting for age for motor milestone acquisition in a premature population. 

Author Biographies

Beth M M Rizzardo, University of British Columbia

MSc. Student

School of Kinesiology

University of British Columbia

Shannon S.D. Bredin, University of British Columbia

Associate Professor

Physical Activity and Chronic Disease Prevention Unit, Laboratory for Knowledge Mobilization

School of Kinesiology

How to Cite
Rizzardo, B., & Bredin, S. (2018). Premature birth and motor milestones: the importance and use of adjusted age. The Health & Fitness Journal of Canada, 11(1), 15-19.