Body Expression-Based Intervention Programs for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities: A Systematic Review

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Oct 18;17(20):7569. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17207569.


The benefits of physical exercise on human health are widely known. However, the level of physical activity in the majority of the population is considered insufficient. People with intellectual disabilities (ID), in particular, show this lack of physical activity to a greater extent. It has been noted that the promotion of activities focused on corporal expression (CE) stimulates the motivation to carry out physical exercise in this population group. The aim of this study was to carry out a systematic review of the last ten years of CE programs carried out in people with ID. The criteria established in the PRISMA statement were followed in the literature search. The databases consulted were Scopus, Web of Science, Pubmed, PsycInfo and Elton B. Stephens Company (EBSCO). Eight exclusion criteria were established for the selection of articles. For the analysis of the selected research, three quality criteria for interventions were established. Subsequently, a summary table with the characteristics of each study was made. In conclusion, it can be stated that CE programs in people with ID report benefits at both physical and psychosocial levels. It is necessary to extend this approach for the promotion of healthy physical activity that advocates social inclusion.

Keywords: Down syndrome; autism spectrum disorder; inclusion; non-verbal language; physical activity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Disabled Persons
  • Exercise*
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Promotion*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / psychology*
  • Motivation*