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Georgia C. Frey

Background:

Adults with mental retardation (MR) have been identified as being more sedentary than those without disabilities based on (a) proxy reports of physical activity (PA) and (b) physiological measures such as body composition or cardiovascular fitness. However, there exist no objective, direct comparisons of PA levels between adults with and without MR. The purpose of this study was to compare physical activity (PA) levels between adults with and without MR using accelerometry.

Methods:

Twenty-two adults with MR (11 men, 11 women; age = 34.9 ± 9.0 y), 17 sedentary controls without MR (SC; 8 men, 9 women; age = 35.8 ± 7.6 y), and 9 active controls without MR (AC; 5 men, 4 women; age = 34.1 ± 5.8 y) wore a Manufacturing Technology Inc (model 7164) accelerometer for 7 d. Data were collected in 1-min epochs and categorized according to light, moderate, hard, and very hard PA. Differences between groups on dependent measures were examined using a 1-way ANOVA.

Results:

Both MR and SC groups were less active (F 2,47 = 12.17, P = 0.00, ηp 2 = 0.35), engaged in less moderate-hard PA (F 2,47 = 11.28, P = 0.00, ηp 2 = 0.33), and engaged in fewer bouts of moderate-hard, continuous PA (F 2,47 = 11.71, P = 0.00, ηp 2 = 0.34) than AC subjects. There were no differences between MR and SC subjects on the variables measured.

Conclusions:

The results suggest that adults with MR exhibit PA patterns similar to sedentary adults without MR. Interventions for this population should target participation in continuous, moderate PA.

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Dawn D. Rosser Sandt and Georgia C. Frey

The purpose of this study was to compare daily, physical education, recess, and after school moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) levels between children with and without autistic spectrum disorders (ASD). Children ages 5 to 12 years wore a uniaxial accelerometer for five days (four weekdays, one weekend day). There were no differences between children with and without ASD at any physical activity setting. Both groups were more active during recess compared to after school, and children with ASD were similarly active in recess and physical education. Although many children with ASD acquired 60 min of physical education per day, this may decrease with age as opportunities for recess and physical education are eliminated.

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Chien-Yu Pan and Georgia C. Frey

Background:

Youth age, parent modeling and support, and time spent in sedentary pursuits influence physical activity (PA) in youth without disabilities, but have not been explored in youth with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD). Therefore, these were selected as variables of interest to examine as PA determinants in this population.

Methods:

Parents (n = 48) and youth (n = 30) wore an accelerometer for 7 d and parents completed a PA support questionnaire. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis was used to evaluate the influence of selected variables on youth PA.

Results:

Youth age (r22 = -0.59, P < 0.01) and sedentary pursuits (r22 = -0.47, P < 0.05) were negatively correlated with and accounted for 30% and 13% of the variance in youth PA, respectively. Parent variables did not significantly contribute to the explained variance.

Conclusion:

Contrary to findings in youth without disabilities, parent PA and support were not predictors of PA in youth with ASD.

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Alice M. Buchanan, Benjamin Miedema and Georgia C. Frey

The purpose of this study was to investigate parent perceptions of the physical activity (PA) engagement of their adult children with autism spectrum disorders. The theoretical framework used in this study was social ecology. Participants were nine parents from families with one adult child with autism spectrum disorder whose ages ranged from 18 to 42. Using phenomenological interviews, which explored parents’ life experience and meaning making, four themes were generated: supports and advocacy for PA, engaging in PA independently, benefits of PA, and barriers to or reasons for disengaging in particular activities. Parents’ interview comments showed that intrapersonal factors, interpersonal relationships, and community factors were essential for keeping the individuals with autism spectrum disorder engaged in PA. Families and practitioners can take advantage of that by seeking PA opportunities in community settings or with other individuals.

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Georgia C. Frey, Heidi I. Stanish and Viviene A. Temple

This review characterizes physical activity behavior in youth with intellectual disability (ID) and identifies limitations in the published research. Keyword searches were used to identify articles from MEDLINE, EBSCOhost Research Databases, Psych Articles, Health Source, and SPORT Discus, and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses up to June 2007. Data were extracted from each study using a template of key items that included participant population, study design, data source, and outcome measure. Nineteen manuscripts met the inclusion criteria. Findings were mixed, with various studies indicating that youth with ID have lower, similar, and higher physical activity levels than peers without disabilities. Only two studies provided enough information to determine that some youth with ID were meeting minimum physical activity standards. Significant methodological limitations prohibit clear conclusions regarding physical activity in youth with ID.

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Georgia C. Frey, Jeffrey A. McCubbin, Steve Hannigan-Downs, Susan L Kasser and Steven O. Skaggs

The purpose of this study was to compare physical fitness levels of trained runners with mild mental retardation (MMR) (7 males and 2 females, age = 28.7 ± 7.4 years, weight = 67.0 ± 11.7 kg) and those without (7 males and 2 females, age = 29.1 ± 7.5, weight = 68.7 ± 8.8 kg). Paired t tests revealed no differences between runners with and without MMR on measures of V̇O2peak (56.3 ± 9.1 vs. 57.7 ± 4.1 ml · kg-1 · min-1), percent body fat (16.6 ± 8.4 vs. 16.6 ± 3.1), and lower back/hamstring flexibility (33.1 ± 10.9 vs. 28.6 ± 10.1 cm). Knee flexion (KF) and extension (KE) strength were significantly greater in runners without MMR compared to those with MMR (KF peak torque = 65.7 ±7.9 vs. 48.7 ± 15.7 ft/lb; KE peak torque = 138.5 ± 17.7 vs. 104.4 ± 29.9 ft/lb). It was concluded that trained runners with MMR can achieve high levels of physical fitness comparable to individuals without MMR.

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Sherry L. Folsom-Meek, Georgia Frey, Cathy Houston-Wilson, Barry Lavay, John C. Ozmun, Terry L. Rizzo, Paul Surburg and Lauriece L. Zittel

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Paul Bishop, Deborah J. Buswell, Sherry L. Folsom-Meek, Georgia Frey, Vivienne M Kuester, John C. Ozmun, Katie Stanton and Trevor Williams

Edited by Terry Rizzo