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Autism Research and Treatment
Volume 2014, Article ID 312163, 6 pages
Research Article

Physical Activity and Physical Fitness of School-Aged Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders

1College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
2School of Education, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA

Received 31 May 2014; Revised 16 August 2014; Accepted 20 August 2014; Published 16 September 2014

Academic Editor: Geraldine Dawson

Copyright © 2014 Kiley Tyler et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by impairments in social communication deficits and the presence of restricted and repetitive behaviors, interests, or activities. Literature comparing the physical activity and fitness of children with ASD to typically developing peers is in need of attention. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the physical activity and fitness of school-aged children with ASD () in comparison to typically developing peers (). Participants with ASD completed diagnostic and developmental assessments and a series of physical fitness assessments: 20-meter multistage shuttle, sit-and-reach test, handgrip strength, and body mass index. Physical activity was measured using accelerometry and preestablished cut-points of physical activity (Freedson et al., 2005). MANCOVA revealed significant between-group effects in strength (), while ANCOVA revealed significant between-group effects in sedentary (), light (), moderate (), and total moderate-to-vigorous () physical activity. Children with ASD are less physically active and fit than typically developing peers. Adapted physical activity programs are one avenue with intervention potential to combat these lower levels of physical activity and fitness found in children with ASD.