Research Trends and Recommendations for Physical Activity Interventions Among Children and Youth With Disabilities: A Review of Reviews

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
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  • 1 University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • | 2 California State University Northridge
  • | 3 Indiana University Bloomington
  • | 4 University of Massachusetts Boston
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This scoping review synthesized reviews of physical activity (PA) interventions for children and youth with disabilities to highlight promising elements of effective interventions, research methodological limitations, and research priorities. Twenty studies were eligible and underwent three rounds of review by an expert panel. Rich and diverse PA programs derived potential short-term benefits toward health, function, and PA. Strategies to increase sample sizes included embedding programs in the community and using information communication technology to deliver exercise programs. Methodological limitations of interventions included a lack of generalizability, transferability, and scientific rigor. Three research priorities were identified: develop and report precision-based intervention strategies, identify strategies that promote both long-term and sustainable PA participation and outcomes, and develop scalable interventions and recruitment strategies. If addressed, these areas could enhance the impact of PA interventions for children and youth with disabilities.

Lai, Lee, and Rimmer are with Lakeshore Research Collaborative, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA. Lai is also with the Dept. of Pediatrics at the university. Wagatsuma and Jung are with the Dept. of Kinesiology, California State University Northridge, Northridge, CA, USA. Frey is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, IN, USA. Stanish is with the Dept. of Exercise and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA, USA.

Lai ( is corresponding author.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplemental Table S1 (PDF 428 KB)