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Physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness in adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Reliability, validity and correlates.

Low levels of physical activity (PA) in adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) increases the risk of physical and mental health problems during adolescence and subsequent adulthood. To enable the identification of adolescents with ASD at risk for developing an inactive lifestyle and to inform the future design of high-quality, evidence-based and ASD-specific PA interventions and programs, several gaps of the current scientific literature need to be addressed.

First, to date, no PA and cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) tests have been validated in adolescents with ASD, causing an inability to accurately assess and interpret these two important health markers. Second, there is a lack of knowledge regarding PA correlates in this population, resulting in difficulties to identify adolescents with ASD at risk of developing an inactive lifestyle. Third, the reason underlying this physical inactivity behavior remains to be elucidated and qualitative research of the perspectives of adolescents with ASD towards PA participation in order to understand their PA behavior is scant.

Therefore, the aims of this project with regard to adolescents with ASD are:
1) To examine the validation of a self-report PA instrument and a submaximal CRF test.
2) To determine potential complex and multiple (interactions between) the correlates of PA, using a comprehensive assessment protocol.
3) To explore the perspectives of adolescents with ASD concerning the barriers and facilitators of PA participation.

Date:1 Oct 2020 →  Today
Keywords:Mental Health, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Physical Activity & Physical Fitness, Rehabilitation Sciences
Disciplines:Rehabilitation, Physiotherapy
Project type:PhD project