Children with intellectual disability (ID) are more vulnerable to health conditions than their typically developing peers. Evidence of effective interventions is scarce. A randomized controlled trial was conducted in 30 overweight and obese children with intellectual disability (ID) in China to evaluate a 12-week school-based physical activity intervention for obesity, health-related physical fitness (HRPF), and blood pressure. The intervention consisted of 24 physical activity (PA) sessions (2 sessions/week, 60 min/session), with exercise intensity progressively increasing from a moderate level to a vigorous level. All participants were followed up for 12 weeks after the intervention period to evaluate sustained effects. Outcomes were repeatedly measured at baseline, after the intervention, and after follow-up. The intervention was effective in reducing some obesity-related outcomes (including weight and body mass index) and improving some HRPF-related outcomes (including the 6 min walk test and the 30 s sit-to-stand test), with the significant effects being sustained after the 12-week follow-up. No effect was observed on blood pressure. The findings of this study contribute to the development and implementation of PA interventions to reduce obesity and improve HRPF in children with ID.
Keywords: China; blood pressure; children; exercise; health-related fitness; intellectual disability; intervention; obesity; overweight; physical activity; randomized controlled trial (RCT).