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Stamatis Agiovlasitis

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Adam Love and Stamatis Agiovlasitis

Adults with Down syndrome (DS) tend to have low physical activity levels, which may relate to how they perceive participation in physical activities. The current study entailed interviews with 30 adults with DS (age 18–71 yr, 18 women) to examine how they perceived physical activity, exercise, and sport. Through qualitative analysis informed by grounded theory, the investigators found that adults with DS have positive perceptions of physical activity that center on enjoyment. Three facets of enjoyment were identified: interaction, achievement, and process. Interaction reflected enjoyment of social contact with others including relatives, peers, caregivers, and animals. Achievement involved enjoyment of achieving particular ends including accomplishment of tasks, material rewards, formation of athletic identities, and improvement of health. Process represented enjoyment from performing a particular activity itself. This multifaceted enjoyment expressed by adults with DS may facilitate physical activity and should be considered when developing programs to improve their well-being.

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Stamatis Agiovlasitis and Robert W. Motl

This study examined whether the relationship between metabolic equivalent units (METs) and step-rate is altered in persons with multiple sclerosis (MS) and developed step-rate thresholds for activity intensity for these persons. Participants were 24 persons with MS (20 women; age = 44 ± 12) and 24 healthy persons without MS (20 women; age = 41 ± 11). The MS group was divided using the 12-item MS Walking Scale (MSWS-12) into two walking impairment subgroups: (a) minimal (n = 13, MSWS-12 ≤ 12.5) and (b) mild-moderate (n = 11, MSWS-12 > 12.5). METs were measured with spirometry and step-rate with hand-tally. Steprate, height, group, the step-rate by group interaction, and the square of step-rate significantly predicted METs. At a given height, the step-rate thresholds at 3 and 6 METs were lower for persons with minimal impairment than persons without MS and even lower for persons with mild-moderate impairment. The relationship between METs and step-rate is altered in persons with MS, lowering their step-rate thresholds for activity intensity, especially for persons with MS who have higher levels of walking impairment.

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Stamatis Agiovlasitis, Kenneth H. Pitetti, Myriam Guerra and Bo Fernhall

This study examined whether 20-m shuttle-run performance, sex, body mass index (BMI), age, height, and weight are associated with peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) in youth with Down syndrome (DS; n = 53; 25 women, age 8–20 years) and whether these variables can be used to develop an equation to predict VO2peak. BMI, 20-m shuttle-run performance, and sex were significantly associated with VO2peak in youth with DS, whereas age, height, and weight were not. A regression model included only shuttle-run performance as a significant predictor of VO2peak; however, the developed prediction equation had low individual predictability. Therefore, 20-m shuttle-run performance alone does not provide valid prediction of VO2peak in youth with DS. Sex, BMI, age, height, and weight do not improve the prediction of VO2peak.

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Stamatis Agiovlasitis, Robert W. Motl, John T. Foley and Bo Fernhall

This study examined the relationship between energy expenditure and wrist accelerometer output during walking in persons with and without Down syndrome (DS). Energy expenditure in metabolic equivalent units (METs) and activity-count rate were respectively measured with portable spirometry and a uniaxial wrist accelerometer in 17 persons with DS (age: 24.7 ± 6.9 years; 9 women) and 21 persons without DS (age: 26.3 ± 5.2 years; 12 women) during six over-ground walking trials. Combined groups regression showed that the relationship between METs and activity-count rate differed between groups (p < .001). Separate models for each group included activity-count rate and squared activity-count rate as significant predictors of METs (p ≤ .005). Prediction of METs appeared accurate based on Bland-Altman plots and the lack of between-group difference in mean absolute prediction error (DS: 17.07%; Non-DS: 18.74%). Although persons with DS show altered METs to activity-count rate relationship during walking, prediction of their energy expenditure from wrist accelerometry appears feasible.

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Stamatis Agiovlasitis, Jeffrey A. McCubbin, Joonkoo Yun, Michael J. Pavol and Jeffrey J. Widrick

This study examined whether the net rate of oxygen uptake (VO2net) and the net oxygen uptake per kilometer (VO2net/km) are affected during walking in adults with Down syndrome (DS) and whether their preferred walking speed (PWS) minimizes the VO2net/km. Respiratory gases were collected as 14 adults with DS and 15 adults without DS completed a series of treadmill walking trials. PWS was measured over 15 meters in a hallway. The VO2net and the VO2net/km were higher in adults with DS than adults without DS. The overground PWS normalized for leg length was the same for both groups and did not appear to minimize the VO2net/km. Thus, adults with DS are less economical during walking than adults without DS. The overground PWS does not minimize the metabolic cost during treadmill walking.

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Stamatis Agiovlasitis, Joonkoo Yun, Jooyeon Jin, Jeffrey A. McCubbin and Robert W. Motl

This paper examines the need for interdisciplinary knowledge in the formation of public health models for health-promoting physical activity (PA) for people experiencing disability. PA promotion for people experiencing disability is a multifaceted endeavor and requires navigating a multitude of complicated and interactive factors. Both disability and health are multifaceted constructs and the relationship between PA and health is embedded within a complicated web of interactive influences. PA promotion must consider interacting biological and psychosocial factors within the person and in the sociopolitical environment. Models for research and practice need to evolve from value and belief systems that center on people experiencing disability without stigmatizing them. We argue that interdisciplinary research and practice is needed in navigating the intricacies of PA promotion toward improving the health of people experiencing disability and facilitating inclusion, empowerment, and dignity.