Autistic children more sedentary despite surprising fitness levels

Lana Bandoim's picture

A new study has compared sedentary lifestyles among autistic and nonautistic children. The research from Oregon State University reveals that children with autism are more sedentary despite finding encouraging fitness levels. There was only one area that showed autistic kids falling behind compared to kids without autism.

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The researchers at Oregon State University discovered that autistic children spend an additional 70 minutes sitting per day compared to children without the disorder. However, the scientists went beyond the usual lifestyle similarities and differences by examining the fitness levels of the children. They were surprised to find that the children with autism did not show any major variations in flexibility or aerobic tests. Both groups of children were able to do the exercises within the expected range for their age.

Scientists only noticed one area that showed a problem for children with autism. They had issues with the strength test and scored lower than children without the disorder. Researchers believe the sedentary lifestyles are being created by people’s inability to recognize that autistic children can participate in sports. They feel both parents and schools can set unfair limits, so they want to see families get their children more involved in fitness activities.

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There are encouraging stories of schools allowing children with autism to participate in team sports with positive results. However, there are also stories of parents complaining about their children being excluded from the teams, isolated during gym classes and not allowed to participate in spirit weeks. Each case is different, and each family faces its own struggle to find the right balance of activities for the children. Some people have started or found sports clubs specifically created for people with autism, so the entire team can experience soccer or football without scrutiny from those who do not understand the condition.

Read more about autism:
Medicaid coverage of autism services ordered by CMS
Police handcuff autistic boy and force him to stay on top of squad car trunk

Image: Julian Tysoe/Wikimedia Commons

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Comments

I don't believe it's because they don't WANT them to be involved in sports it's because they don't follow directions well and how can you have them join football if they don't play the game but run all over the field. Most of the inability though I think is more not focusing on the ares of teaching than inability.
I find this most beneficial in life at the moment,I have two young Autistic young males in my life ATM,one of them feels he can do more than his school has permitted.
I find this most beneficial in life at the moment,I have two young Autistic young males in my life ATM,one of them feels he can do more than his school has permitted.