To study the determinants and factors influencing the development of cognition and perception using the Mann-Zeichen Test in preschool children.
Data were obtained from the Ulm Birth Cohort Study (UBCS) including newborns and their mothers recruited in Ulm between 2000-2001. Data were collected using self-administered parental questionnaires following delivery (baseline examination) and at 2, 3, 4, and 6 years of children’s age. Cognitive development was tested using drawings of n=298 children at a school entrance examination (mean age=5.8 years, SD=0.4). Bi- und multivariable linear regression analyses were conducted.
In boys, we observed statistically significant positive associations between high paternal education and the children’s cognitive development (regression coefficient b, p-value: 6.65, p=0.018). There was a trend towards negative association between institutional care during the first 3 years of life (b=- 0.18/months of institutional care, p=0.074), as well as allergic diseases (b=- 6.02, p=0.075) and cognitive development. More than 30 min. spent on watching television (TV) or video at children’s age of 4 years was significantly associated with reduced cognitive abilities at 6 years of age (b=- 9.37, p=0.005). In girls, there was a trend towards negative association between maternal education (b=- 4.43, p=0.091) and a positive association between allergic diseases and the cognitive development (b=6.42, p=0.075). Mutually adjusted, the effects were attenuated in boys and girls. However, a negative association between paternal education and time spent watching TV with children’s cognitive ability was observed.
The study shows modifiable factors associated with the cognitive abilities at age 6 years, especially early TV consumption in boys.

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