Online Program

Physical activity correlates among adolescents with and without intellectual disabilities

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Heidi Stanish, PhD, Department of Exercise and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA
Carol Curtin, PhD, MSW, UMass Medical School, E.K. Shriver Center, Worcester, MA
Aviva Must, PhD, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA
Sarah Phillips, MS, MPH, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA
Charmaine Lo, PhD, MPH, Department of Psychiatry; Center for Mental Health Services Research, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA
Linda Bandini, RD, PhD, Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Waltham, MA
The benefits of physical activity (PA) for health are well known. However, data on the PA levels of adolescents with intellectual disabilities (ID) or the factors associated with participation are scant. Decreased levels of PA in youth with ID could lead to increased health disparities. To investigate correlates of PA among adolescents with and without ID, we developed and piloted an interview to examine PA preferences, barriers, and beliefs. The interview was administered to 38 adolescents with ID (mean age 16.8 years; 45% male) and 60 typically developing (TD) adolescents (mean age 15.3 years; 60% male). Visual aids were used to promote understanding and to assist with communication. Statistical significance was declared where p<0.05. A significantly greater percentage of adolescents with ID compared to TD adolescents (82% vs. 62%, p<0.01) reported preference for watching TV and playing video games. Significantly more youth with ID reported that sports and exercise are too hard to learn (41% vs. 0%), that they are afraid of getting hurt and it stops me from participating (22% vs. 3%), and that they have no one to participate with (36% vs. 7%). Fewer adolescents with ID believed that sports and exercise are good for health (92% vs. 100%, p<0.05). A comparison of PA correlates provided evidence that adolescents with ID perceive more barriers to participating in PA, prefer sedentary activities, and may be less aware of the benefits of PA compared to TD adolescents. These findings can help inform PA promotion efforts for adolescents with ID.

Learning Areas:

Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Describe the correlates of physical activity participation among adolescents with and without an intellectual disability.

Keyword(s): Disability, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator (PI), co-PI, or co-investigator of two federally funded grants and several foundation grants focusing on physical activity promotion for individuals with developmental disabilities. My line of research aims to improve the health and quality of life of people with disabilities through participation in community-based physical activity interventions.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.