This study set out to develop a simple field testing protocol for evaluating the aerobic capacity, forearm isometric strength, and percent body fat of mentally retarded individuals (MRI). A total of 33 (MR) (M IQ=68) subjects (26 males, 7 females) ranging in age from 12 to 49 years participated in this study. A submaximal exercise test using the Schwinn Air-Dyne ergometer was used to estimate aerobic capacity (V̇O2max). Forearm strength was determined by using a hand grip isometric dynamometer. Percent body fat (%BF) was determined by the skinfold method and bioelectrical impedance. All 33 MR subjects who were tested successfully completed the fitness assessment protocol. Correlation coefficients for directly measured versus estimated V̇O2 max and test-retest for forearm strength for 10 of the subjects was .91 and .95, respectively. Slight variations were seen in the methods used to determine %BF. Based on these statistics, it is recommended that the protocol used in this study be considered by those involved in the physical education or training of MRI.
Kenneth H. Pitetti, Jeffrey E. Fernandez, David C. Pizarro and Nancy B. Stubbs
Kenneth H. Pitetti, James A. Jackson, Nancy B. Stubbs, Kathryn D. Campbell and Saraswathy S. Battar
Comparative and longitudinal studies were performed to determine the effect of Special Olympic activities on the physical fitness of participants. The comparative study compared cardiovascular fitness, percent body fat, and blood lipid profiles of non-Down, mildly mentally retarded adult Special Olympic participants (SOP) with those of nontraining, nonhandicapped (NTNH) and training nonhandicapped (TNH) adults. The results indicated that SOP displayed lower fitness profiles than TNH. Male SOP demonstrated fitness profiles similar to NTNH while female SOP showed lower cardiovascular fitness levels than both TNH and NTNH. The longitudinal study compared cardiovascular fitness and percent body fat of non-Down, mildly mentally retarded adult SOP before and after 4 to 18 months of Special Olympic activities. This latter study showed no significant change in body weight, percent body fat, or cardiovascular fitness during a time period that averaged over 13 months for each participant. The results indicated that the intensity level of activity for the SOP in this study failed to improve physical fitness.