Research Study Abstract

Objective Quantification of Physical Activity in Down's Syndrome Adolescents. A Pilot Study

  • Added on July 22, 2011

Introduction Knowing the degree of physical activity in a population group becomes the first step to address sport promotion policies to encourage a healthy lifestyle that may have impact on better living conditions. Traditionally, we have used questionnaires and log books to ascertain the practice of physical activities and sports. Present times determine the use of technology, such as accelerometers, which have been shown to be a valid tool to objectively quantify physical activity levels in different populations. An accelerometer is an electronic device that collects accelerations produced by the body over a period of time. Through this instrument, we are able to know the fulfillment of official recommendations for physical activity and also the activity patterns followed by different groups.

Objective The aim of this study is to carry out a first approach to the objective quantification of physical activity in young people with Down syndrome in Spain. We also seek to know if they meet official recommendations of physical activity for health and patterns of physical activity.

Method Five adolescents with Down syndrome aged 17.8 ±1.2 were analyzed for a week using GT3X tri-axial accelerometers. All recorded days were valid, except for two single days in one of the participants due to an illness.

Results Most of their physical activity was limited to sedentary or light activity. They performed about 30 minutes of moderate or vigorous activity, so did not meet physical activity recommendations. Subjects carried out an average over 8.000 steps a day, far away from the recommended 10.000 steps, although two of the participants reach more than 9.700 steps a day. Both in quantity and intensity, physical activity made on working days significantly exceeds that held on weekends. On average, half of physical activity (also in quantity and intensity) performed throughout the day is made within the school, which emphasizes the importance of school as a promoting or facilitating means for physical activity.

Conclusion Accelerometers have been proved to be a valid tool to assess physical activity in special groups of population with specific characteristics, such as Down’s syndrome adolescents. In the future, it would be interesting to extend the study sample, in order to draw meaningful conclusions about the physical practice of this collective.

References Fredriksen, P. M. et al. (2000). Physical activity in children and adolescents with congenital heart disease. Aspects of measurements with an activity monitor. Cardiology in the Young, 10, 98-106. Grace, C. et al. (2003). Energy metabolism in Bardet-Biedl syndrome. International Journal of Obesity, 27(11), 1319-1324. Ward, D. et al. (2005). Accelerometer use in physical activity: best practices and research recommendations. Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise, 37(11 Sup.), S582-588.