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Lower Body Strength of Children and Adolescents with and Without Mild Mental Retardation: A Comparison

Kenneth H. Pitetti and Daniel A. Yarmer

The purpose of this study was to compare children and adolescents (ages 8-18 yr) with and without mental retardation (MR) on isometric strength of knee flexion, knee extension, and combined leg and back strength. Sample size of participants with mild MR, but without Down syndrome, was 158 males and 111 females. Sample size of peers without MR was 223 males and 226 females. Analysis was made by gender and age: children (8-10 yr), early adolescents (11-14 yr), and late adolescents (15-18 yr). For all age groups, males and females without MR were significantly stronger than their same-gender peers with MR for all isometric strength measurements. For individuals with MR, the trend toward leveling off or decreasing in leg and back strength is a serious health and social concern.

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Cardiovascular Fitness and Body Composition of Youth with and without Mental Retardation

Kenneth H. Pitetti, Daniel A. Yarmer, and Bo Fernhall

The purpose of this study was to compare the aerobic fitness and body mass index (BMI) of children and adolescents (8-18 yr) with and without mild mental retardation (MR). Sample size of participants with MR but without Down syndrome was 169 males and 99 females. Sample size of participants without MR was 289 males and 317 females. Analysis was made by gender and age: children (8-10 yr); early adolescents (11-14 yr); and late adolescents (15-18 yr). The 20-m shuttle run test (20 MST) was used to assess field test performance and predicted aerobic fitness. For all age groups, females and males without MR ran significantly more laps and had a significantly higher predicted aerobic fitness (V̇O2peak: ml $$ kg-1 $$ min-1) than their peers with MR. Additionally, participants with MR tended to have higher BMI than their peers without MR. The results of this study indicate that children and adolescents with MR have lower exercise capacity, lower aerobic fitness, and higher BMIs than their peers without MR.