Obese youth with and without Prader-Willi Syndrome need more physical activity

Castner
Diobel Castner, M.S.
California State University, Fullerton

Overweight and obese children, as well as those diagnosed with developmental disabilities, are more likely to not meet the minimum moderate to vigorous physical activity recommendation of 60 minutes per day. Furthermore, youth with Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) appear to participate in less physical activity compared to children without PWS. In addition, a description of the physical activity patterns of youth with PWS is lacking.

What did you do in your research?
The purpose of our research was to examine physical activity in youth with PWS and to compare these findings to physical activity patterns to children with non-syndromal obesity. A total of 24 youth with PWS (ages 816 years) and 40 obese children without PWS (ages 811 years) took part in the study. Participants wore an accelerometer (for 8 consecutive days), which is a small device that records physical activity. Various intensities of physical activity and weekly patterns (i.e., weekdays vs. weekend days) were evaluated in each of the groups of children.

What did you find out?
We determined that youth with PWS spent 19.4% less time in weekly light physical activity and 29.8% less time in weekly vigorous physical activity compared to children with non-syndromal obesity. Additionally, youth with PWS participated in less light and vigorous physical activity during the weekends and less light physical activity on weekdays compared to children with non-syndromal obesity. Overall, neither group of children met the minimum moderate to vigorous physical activity recommendation.

What are the take-home messages?
Exercise interventions and programs for youth with PWS should focus on integrating activity of vigorous intensity, along with activities that the child will enjoy. Additionally, these programs should provide more opportunities for youth with PWS to engage in spontaneous physical activity of low intensity.

To learn more about these findings contact Diobel Castner or visit the Project Website.

Full Journal Article
Castner, D.M., Tucker, J.M., Wilson, K.S., & Rubin, D.A. (2014). Patterns of habitual physical activity in youth with and without Prader-Willi Syndrome. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 35(11), 3081-3088.