Children with Autism More Likely to Be Sedentary

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Children with autism tend to be less active than their peers without the disorder, according to a small study.

Kiley Tyler, a doctoral student at the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University, and colleagues conducted the study among 29 children, both with and without autism. They also conducted fitness assessments based on a shuttle run, sit-and-reach test, and a strength test using handgrips.

Overall, children with autism are more sedentary than their peers, averaging 50 minutes less a day of moderate physical activity and 70 minutes more each day sitting, the researchers reported in the journal Autism Research and Treatment.

However, kids with autism only lagged on one fitness measure — the strength test.

Megan MacDonald, PhD, of Oregon State University and a study co-author, told Medical News Today that results are encouraging since children with autism, for the most part, are on the same level as their peers when it comes to physical fitness.

“That's really important for parents and teachers to understand, because it opens the door for them to participate in so many activities,” she said.

MacDonald also encourages parents to incorporate physical activity as part of a family’s regular routine.

Children with Autism Likely to Be More Sedentary
Children with Autism More Likely to Be Sedentary

A new Oregon State University study of children with autism found that they are more sedentary than their typically-developing peers, averaging 50 minutes less a day of moderate physical activity and 70 minutes more each day sitting.

For the study, researchers tested the fitness and physical activity levels of 17 children with autism and 12 children without autism. The fitness assessments, conducted in the Movement Studies in Disability Lab at OSU, included a 20-meter, multi-stage shuttle run to measure aerobic fitness; a sit-and-reach test to measure flexibility and a strength test to measure handgrip strength; as well as height, weight and body mass index measurements. 

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