ISSN: 1734-4948
Advances in Rehabilitation
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vol. 32
Review paper

Physical activity of children and youth with disabilities

Kaja Piłatowicz
Marta Kinga Zdunek
Bartosz Molik
Agnieszka Magdalena Nowak
Jolanta Marszałek

Faculty of Rehabilitation, Chair of Movement Teaching, Department of Movement Teaching for the Disabled, Jozef Pilsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw; Wydział Rehabilitacji, Katedra Nauczania Ruchu, Zakład Sportu Niepełnosprawnych, Akademia Wychowania Fizycznego Józefa Piłsudskiego w Warszawie
Advances in Rehabilitation/Postępy Rehabilitacji (4), 45 – 54, 2018
Online publish date: 2019/03/20
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Physical activity is defined as every movement performed by skeletal muscles above resting metabolic rate. It is important for children and youth as it contributes to appropriate emotional, social and somatic development. It may be limited by developmental disorders, diseases and disabilities. The aim of the work was to review the literature regarding physical activity of children and youth with motor disabilities.

Material and methods
The literature review was performed with the use of EBSCO and PubMed databases. The study inclusion criteria were as follows: publication in the English, Spanish or Polish language (1), abstract and/or title of the work included phrases “physical activity” and “children” and “disability” or “children with disabilities” and “fitness” and “activity” or “performance” and “children with disabilities” and “physical activity” (2), the work was published in the years 2011-2018 (3), it is available as a full-text article (4) and it comes from a scientific journal (5).

As a result of the literature review, 516 articles were found, out of which 66 were found in EBSCO and 450 in PubMed. Ultimately, 35 papers which fulfilled the inclusion criteria (27 original articles and 8 reviews) were qualified for the study.

Persons with disabilities take up any forms of physical activity considerably less frequently than functionally fit individuals. Barriers which hinder taking up physical activity by children with disabilities are constituted mainly by environmental, psychological and physical factors. In order to assess physical activity of children and youth with disabilities, accelerometers, endurance tests, participation and quality of life questionnaires and interviews are applied most frequently.


physical activity, children and youth with disabilities, adaptation, disability

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