A Systematic Review of the Outcomes of Cardiovascular Exercise Programs for People with Down Syndrome
Objective: The objective of this study was to examine existing research using as statistical tool called meta-analysis on whether cardiovascular exercise programs are beneficial and safe for people with Down syndrome.
Methods and Data Sources: Electronic library databases were searched on by using a range of key words relating to Down syndrome or trisomy 21 and exercise. Additional articles were tracked through manual searching and citation tracking procedures.
Study Selection: Of the 156 initial articles reviewed, only four met the comprehensive inclusion criteria of conforming with the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for cardiovascular fitness; assessment of changes in body structure or function, activity limitation, or societal participation; and use of a prospective clinical controlled research design with or without random allocation to groups.
Data Synthesis: Cardiovascular exercise programs were found to be effective in increasing peak oxygen consumption, peak minute ventilation, maximum workload achieved, and time to exhaustion. No significant changes were found for body weight, and no adverse effects were reported.
Study Conclusions: Though programs with a cardiovascular element should be supported for persons with Down syndrome, more high-quality randomized controlled trials need to be conducted.