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Arnold School of Public Health

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Micheala Schenkelberg Publishes Article on Physical Activity in Children with Disabilities


In an observational study presented in the December 2020 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise, CPARG researchers observed how features of the preschool physical and social environments influenced the physical activity behaviors of young children with developmental disabilities. Researchers observed 34 preschool children with disabilities in inclusive and special education preschool settings. The children were found to only spend 16.1 and 2.4% of the time in light or moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, respectively. The study found that certain features, such as of the social and physical environment were more conducive to physical activity than others. The children were more likely to be active when interacting one-on-one with an adult or when alone as compared to group settings. Indoor settings including structure therapy, manipulative play and sociodramatic play were more likely to promote physical activity than other. And most notably, the children were more likely in to engage in physical activity when they were outdoor compared to indoors. This study demonstrates that young children should spend plenty of time outdoors in settings that are designed to encourage physical activity.

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