Barriers to Physical Activity in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders: Relationship to Physical Activity and Screen Time
Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center; Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center
Community Health | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Exercise Science | Mental Disorders | Psychiatry and Psychology
BACKGROUND: Individual, social, and community barriers to physical activity (PA) experienced by children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) make PA participation more difficult and may contribute to increased screen time. METHODS: We compared the prevalence of parent-reported barriers to PA among 58 typically developing (TD) children and 53 children with an ASD, 3-11 years, and assessed the association between barriers and PA participation and screen time among children with ASD. RESULTS: Parents of children with ASD reported significantly more barriers than parents of TD children. Based on parent-report, 60% of children with ASD required too much supervision compared to no TD children (p<0.001). Parents of children with ASD were more likely to report that adults lack skills needed to include their child (58%), that their child has few friends (45%), and that other children exclude their child (23%). The number of parent-reported barriers to PA was inversely correlated with the hours spent in PA per year (r=-0.27, p=0.05) and positively related to total screen time (r=0.32, p < 0.03). CONCLUSIONS: These findings underscore the need for community-based PA programs designed to meet the special requirements of this population and policies that compel schools and other government-supported organizations for inclusion and/or targeted programming.
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Citation: Must A, Phillips S, Curtin C, Bandini LG. Barriers to Physical Activity in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders: Relationship to Physical Activity and Screen Time. J Phys Act Health. 2015 Apr;12(4):529-34. doi: 10.1123/jpah.2013-0271. Epub 2015 Apr 28. PubMed PMID: 25920014; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4490003. Link to article on publisher's site
Must, Aviva; Phillips, Sarah; Curtin, Carol; and Bandini, Linda G., "Barriers to Physical Activity in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders: Relationship to Physical Activity and Screen Time" (2015). Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center Publications and Presentations. 46.