Promoting Fitness and Balance Among Individuals With Intellectual Disabilities
Article - Merrimack Access Only
Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
There are many barriers for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) to participate in normative physical activities, including lack of knowledge, motivation, skills, and environmental resources. The current study examined a community-based peer health promotion program aimed at promoting fitness and balance among adults with ID. The program was designed based on a peer education model. Thirty individuals (15 men, 15 women; M^sub age^ = 26.2 ± 2.0 years) with mild-to-moderate ID from a local nonprofit organization that provides services for individuals with disabilities participated in the study. Participants were matched with undergraduate students majoring in health sciences. Students led one-on-one fitness sessions (,45 min each) focusing on balance and cardiovascular exercises, as well as education sessions (~15 min each) twice a week for 8 weeks. Education sessions focused on promoting lifestyle physical activities and healthy diet. Pretests and posttests were administered to assess the participants' body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, lower-body strength (sit-and-stand test), upper-body strength (handgrip test), cardiovascular endurance (6-min walk test), and balance (balance error scoring test). A dependent paired-sample t test showed a significant decrease in waist circumference, t(19) = 2.46, Cohen's d = 0.30 and significant increases on the sit-and-stand test, t(15) = 2.64, Cohen's d = 0.38, and balance test, t(13) = 2.14, Cohen's d = 0.47, all ps < .05. The intervention effects were not significant on BMI, t(18) = 1.09, handgrip strength, t(21) = -0.73, or 6-min walk distance, t(17) = -1.7, all ps > .05. Peer education programs have the potential to promote fitness and balance among individuals with ID. Further refinement to the program is needed to positively affect participants' cardiovascular strength and upper-body strength.
Corcoran, M. P.,
Finn, K. E.
(2016). Promoting Fitness and Balance Among Individuals With Intellectual Disabilities. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 87(S2), A55-A56.
Available at: https://scholarworks.merrimack.edu/health_facpubs/57