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NCHPAD - Building Healthy Inclusive Communities

Introduction


Down Syndrome is a genetic condition that causes delays in physical and intellectual development. Statistics indicate that Down Syndrome occurs about 1.36 times in every 1,000 live births; currently, more than 350,000 people in the United States have been diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

Research studies show that children with Down Syndrome have lower muscle strength, levels of motor development, and cardiovascular fitness. Research also shows that these children experience growth delays, breathing, heart, vision, and thyroid problems, and other primary and secondary health conditions.

Physical activity guidelines recommend that children engage in 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous daily physical activity; however, research has found that 58 percent of children with Down Syndrome do not meet this guideline.

Cited research by Draheim and colleagues, which focused on physical inactivity among adults with intellectual disability, reported that less than 46 percent of study participants engaged in recommended amounts of physical activity; additionally, no adults over 30 years of age reported participation in vigorous physical activity.

Literature shows children with Down Syndrome become more inactive as they age. Adolescents 15 years of age and older have been found to be the most sedentary. Research has also shown higher rates of obesity among children with Down Syndrome compared to children without it.


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