Research Study Abstract

Embedding sustainable physical activities into the everyday lives of adults with intellectual disabilities: a randomised controlled trial

  • Published on Oct. 5, 2014

Background: Adults with intellectual disability (ID) are physically very inactive. This study will compare two approaches to increasing physical activity in adults with ID: a lifestyle physical activity (light-moderate intensity) approach and a structured exercise (moderate-vigorous intensity) approach. The trial will compare the short-term (3-month) and long-term (9-month) outcomes and sustainability of each approach with a usual-care control group.

Methods/Design: A three-arm randomised controlled trial (RCT) will be conducted. Ninety adults with ID aged 18-55 will be randomly assigned to one of three groups: 1) a lifestyle physical activity group (n = 30), 2) a structured exercise group (n = 30), or 3) a usual care control group (n = 30). Participants in both groups will receive a 12-week intervention delivered by exercise specialists in the community with disability service staff, after which intervention will continue for 6 months, delivered by disability service staff only. Primary outcomes are aerobic fitness, 12-hour energy expenditure, and proxy-reported everyday physical activity. Secondary outcomes include objectively assessed physical activity and sedentary behaviour, intervention compliance, functional walking capacity, participation in domestic activities, muscle strength, body composition, psychosocial outcomes, quality of life and health care costs.

Discussion: The trial results will determine the effectiveness and sustainability of two approaches to increasing physical activity and exercise among adults with ID.

Trial registration: ISRCTN77889248 (18 April 2012).


  • Kerrie Lante 1
  • Roger J Stancliffe 2
  • Adrian Bauman 3
  • Hidde P van der Ploeg 3,4
  • Stephen Jan 5
  • Glen M Davis 6


  • 1

    Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide SA 5001, Australia

  • 2

    Centre for Disability Research and Policy, The University of Sydney, PO Box 170, Lidcombe NSW 1825, Australia

  • 3

    Sydney School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney NSW 2006, Australia

  • 4

    Department of Public and Occupational Health, VU University Medical Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • 5

    The George Institute for Global Health, Camperdown NSW 2050, Australia

  • 6

    Discipline of Exercise and Sports Science, The University of Sydney, Lidcombe NSW 1825, Australia


BMC Public Health