Youth with Down syndrome do not get enough physical activity

By Phil Esposito, PhD
Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Currently many children with Down syndrome are overweight or obese. The aim of this study was to examine the physical activity patterns of children with Down syndrome. If we know more about physical activity then we can have a better understanding of how it relates to weight gain.

What did you do in your research?
We measured the physical activity patterns of children (8-16 years old) using physical activity monitors for about one week. Also, we measured
body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage.
What did you find out?

Results show that adolescents from ages 14 to 15 years were most inactive. They also spent the least amount of time in light. As children got older, their physical activity levels declined. This is similar to youth without disabilities.

What are the take-home messages?
Youth with Down syndrome may not get the recommended 60 minutes of daily moderate or vigorous physical activity and they may be more at risk for increased weight gain.

To learn more about these findings contact
Phil Esposito.

Full Journal Article
Esposito, P.E., MacDonald, M., Hornyak, J.E. and Ulrich, D.A. (2012).
Physical Activity Patterns of Youth with Down Syndrome. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 50(2), 109-119.