Health-promoting physical activity of adults with developmental diabilities




Stanish, Heidi I.
Temple, Viviene A.
Frey, Georgia C.

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John Wiley & Sons


The aim of this paper is to describe what is known about the engagement of adults with mental retardation in physical activity behavior consistent with the U.S. Surgeon General’s recommendation of 30-minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on 5 or more days per week. The proportion of participants achieving this criterion ranges from 17.5% to 33%. These data are likely to be generous estimates of activity as individuals included in physical activity studies to date have been relatively young and healthy volunteers with mild to moderate limitations. Major sources of physical activity were walking and cycling for transport, chores and work, dancing, and Special Olympics. There is a pressing need to conduct studies using appropriately powered representative samples and to validate measures which assess physical activity less directly; including methodologies where proxy respondents are used. Accurate information about existing patterns of behavior will enhance the development of effective strategies to promote physical activity among persons with mental retardation.


This is a preprint of an article published in Mental retardation and developmental disability research reviews volume 12 issue 1, 2006.


intellectual disability, health, physical activity, mental retardation, exercise


Stanish, H. I., Temple, V. A., & Frey, G., &. (2006). Health-promoting physical activity of adults with developmental disabilities. Mental retardation and developmental disabilities research reviews, 12, 13 to 21.