Studies claim children with autism tend to be more sedentary than others

Corvallis, OR — Results of a study by a group of researchers from Oregon State University suggest that children on the autism spectrum may be more sedentary than typically developing children. The study, which was recently published in the Autism Research and Treatment journal, involved a group 29 children, some of them diagnosed with autism, while others were not.

Researchers have observed that the children with ASD were more sedentary compared to the others, averaging about 70 minutes of just sitting daily.

The researchers enlisted 17 children who were diagnosed with autism and 12 typically-developing children. The children underwent fitness assessment through different physical activities to measure their fitness levels. The assessment included height, body mass index and weight measurements; and the children were tasked to undergo a sit-and-reach test to measure their flexibility, a hand grip test to measure their strength, and a multi-stage shuttle run that measured 20 meters to gauge their aerobic fitness.

The results showed that the children with autism could measure up to the typically-developing kids in almost all tests except for one– the strength test.

Megan Macdonald of the Oregon State University College of Public Health and Human Sciences, said that the results were encouraging. She told:

“These kids, compared to their peers, are similarly fit. That’s exciting, because it means those underlying fitness abilities are there.”

Researchers said however, that careful analysis and extensive research are still needed to determine why children on the autism spectrum are more sedentary than typically developing children. Macdonald suggests however, that this may be because they typically lack opportunities to engage in sports activities.

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