Health-related physical fitness in children and adolescents with Down syndrome and response to training

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2010 Oct;20(5):716-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2010.01120.x.


Physical fitness is related to health at all ages. Information about physical fitness in the Down syndrome (DS) population, however, is scarce, especially when we consider children and adolescents. A review of the current data available on this topic would be both timely and important as it would serve as a starting point to stimulate new research perspectives. The data we reviewed from the literature showed a general trend toward lower values of physical fitness parameters and worse body composition variables in children and adolescents with DS compared with the population without intellectual disability (ID) or even with the population with ID without DS. Notably, children and adolescents with DS have been described as less active or overprotected; however, these factors may not be the cause of their poor physical fitness. Many of the training programs carried out in children and adolescents with DS did not yield the desired responses, and the reasons are still unknown. The purpose of this review is to summarize the current available literature on health-related physical fitness in children and adolescents with DS, and the effect of training on these variables. From the literature available, it is clear that more data on this population are necessary.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Composition
  • Child
  • Down Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Humans
  • Muscle Strength
  • Physical Education and Training*
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*