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Physical Activity Patterns in Students with Physical Disabilities in General Physical Education and Inclusive Recess Settings

Jennifer Houston, Hans van der Mars, Kent A. Lorenz


Children with physical disabilities are at a higher risk for sedentary living than their peers because of their physical limitations that then can lead to deterioration in physical functioning (Sit, McManus, McKenzie, & Lian, 2007). This deterioration then leads to more inactivity (Sit et al., 2007). Along with the typically discussed problems associated with inactivity, such as obesity and heart disease, those with disabilities are prone to secondary conditions such as chronic pain, extreme fatigue, weight and eating problems, muscle spasms, respiratory infections, falls or other injuries, mobility issues, asthma and social issues (e.g., Rimmer & Rowland, 2008; Rimmer, Yamaki, Davis, Wang & Vogel, 2011). According to McKenzie (2002), participation in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during class is highly dependent upon how physical education subject matter is delivered (i.e., lesson context) and the instructor delivering it (i.e., teacher behavior) (McKenzie, 2002). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to observe and measure the physical activity (PA) levels of children with physical disabilities in inclusive physical education and recess settings.  The results indicate that students with physical disabilities are engaged in MVPA for an average of 10.25% of the inclusive physical education class time, and 17.5% during inclusive recess.

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Physical activity; disability; physical education; recess

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