Physical activity among adults with intellectual disabilities living in community settings

Prev Med. 2008 Jul;47(1):101-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2008.01.007. Epub 2008 Jan 26.


Objective: The aim was to objectively monitor steps accrued by a sample of adults with intellectual disabilities and to describe physical activity patterns by monitoring steps taken across weekdays, weekends, and hours of the day using time-stamped technology.

Method: This study used pedometers with time-stamped recording capabilities to measure physical activity behavior of 131 adults with mild to moderate levels of intellectual disabilities living in community-based supported living group settings in Iowa. Participants wore a pedometer for seven consecutive days. All data was collected in 2006 and analyzed in 2007.

Results: The participants accrued 6508+/-3296 steps/day. Controlling for age, participants with mild intellectual disability were more active than participants with moderate intellectual disability (F=7.03, p<.01). A total of 14.1% accumulated 10,000 steps/day. Participants were more active on weekdays than on weekends (Z=-7.36, p<.01), and least active during the evening period compared to the morning and afternoon hours (F(r)=103.3, p<.01).

Conclusion: Physical activity (steps/day) achieved by the majority of this population is insufficient for health benefits, particularly among individuals with moderate intellectual disability. Evenings and weekends are especially inactive time periods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Persons with Mental Disabilities*
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Walking*
  • Young Adult