Exercise great for children with developmental disabilities

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have shown that brain damage was reduced by as much as 62.2 percent in mice who inhale low amounts of carbon monoxide after an induced stroke. The scientists, in a report published online Dec. 15 in Neurotoxicity Research, say that although carbon monoxide (CO) gas has a long reputation as an

Full Post: Carbon monoxide used to protect mouse nerve cells from damage

Group exercise programs, treadmill training and horseback riding can be healthy choices for children with developmental disabilities, a new review of studies concludes.

With these kinds of activities, children with disorders such as autism, mental retardation and cerebral palsy can improve their coordination and aerobic fitness, according to research analyzed by Connie Johnson, PT, a physical therapist with the Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia.

The findings are encouraging, since studies show that children with developmental disabilities tend to be less fit than their peers. In many cases, the children lack the resources and community support that would encourage them to be more active, Johnson said.

Children and adults with disabilities “can ill afford to have a downturn in health and yet when told by their doctor to exercise or lose weight, they are rarely - if ever - given the resources or knowledge to do so,” said James Rimmer, Ph.D., director of the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability.

However, “parents may be more likely to provide their children with opportunities for physical activity if the specific potential benefits for their children are proven,” said Johnson, whose review appears in the January-February issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion .

Johnson analyzed 14 studies and three other evidence reviews to determine how youth with developmental disabilities might benefit from physical activity. The strongest evidence of benefits came from studies of group exercise, therapeutic horseback riding and treadmill workouts. Skiing and swimming programs might also be beneficial, but the evidence from those programs was not as strong, she concluded.

As other studies have suggested, however, the children all found “some level of enjoyment, satisfaction or physical benefit from the activities,” Johnson said.

Only two studies reported any problems with the exercise programs, including one study of children with severe cerebral palsy where therapeutic horseback riding raised some heart rates above the healthy levels recommended for all children by the American Heart Association.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, developmental disabilities affect nearly 17 percent of children un

American Journal of Health Promotion: Call (248) 682-0707 or visit www.healthpromotionjournal.com.



A study which reviewed physical activity in schools has found that school health and exercise programmes can offer benefits even if they don’t help students lose weight. The researchers from the Cochrane Library say school-based health and exercise programs offer positive outcomes despite having little effect on children’s weight or the amount of exercise they

Full Post: Back to school to get fit and healthy

Researchers in New Zealand say though exercise is known to be one of the essential components which improve and enhance the quality of life, it is unfortunately underused. A new study by researchers from the University of Otago says physical exercise is a valuable tool for effectively improving the quality of life with regard to

Full Post: Exercise on doctors orders!

Regular exercise seems to reduce anger expression in overweight but otherwise healthy children, researchers said. The first published study on the topic looked at 208 typically sedentary 7- to 11-year-olds who participated in a 10-15 week afterschool aerobic exercise program or maintained their usual inactive routine. The Pediatric Anger Expression Scale, used to gauge common

Full Post: Exercise helps manage anger in overweight children

The main factors influencing the amount of physical exercise people carry out are their self-perceived ability and the extent of their desire to exercise. A study of 5167 Canadians, reported in the open access journal BMC Public Health, has shown that psychological concerns are the most important barriers to an active lifestyle. Sai Yi Pan,

Full Post: Psychological concerns are greatest barriers to an active lifestyle

Community-based physical activity interventions designed to promote more active lifestyles among adults are cost-effective in reducing heart disease, stroke, colorectal and breast cancers, and type 2 diabetes, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Using a rigorous economic model developed to assess

Full Post: Community-based physical activity interventions found to be cost-effective