Session Time: None. Available on demand.
Disclosures: Cara Vernacchia, DO: No financial relationships or conflicts of interest
Background and/or Objectives: Current guidelines recommend all children, including those with disabilities, obtain 60 minutes of daily physical activity. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected children with disabilities’ (CWD) access to physical activity, with studies reporting 50-70% of CWD exercising less during the pandemic than before. The aims of this study were to assess whether a cohort of CWD were getting less physical activity than recommended national guidelines, examine specific barriers, and gauge parental interest in physical activity programs for their children.
Design: Cross-sectional survey study
Setting: Multi-center outpatient study within academic freestanding hospitals
Participants: 59 parents of children with chronic disabilities
Main Outcome Measures: Likert scale for how much child is leaving home compared to pre-pandemic, how much physical activity child is getting daily, main barriers to physical activity, interest for physical activity programs.
Results: There were n=59 parents of children with disabilities who participated in the study. Child’s age had a mean of 10.1 ± 5.6 years. Twenty of the children were female and 39 were male. Forty-six parents (78%) either agreed or strongly agreed that their child left the house less during the pandemic than before. Forty parents (68%) reported their child was getting less than 60 mins of daily physical activity. The main barrier to physical activity was “concern for COVID transmission,” with 38 parents (64%) citing that as a concern. If there were structured physical activity programs available, 41 parents (70%) said they were interested in enrolling their child.
Conclusions: The physical activity levels of children with disabilities have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which can have deleterious effects on overall mental and physical health. The main barrier to physical activity for CWD is parental concern for COVID transmission. Virtual physical activity programs tailored towards children with disabilities could be a methodology for improving physical activity engagement in these children during the pandemic.
Level of Evidence: Level IV
To cite this abstract in AMA style:Vernacchia C, DeMarco K, Jayabalan P, Stinnett T, Pavone L, Jesus AD, Chu Y, Darcy R. The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Physical Activity Levels and Access to Fitness Programs for Children with Disabilities [abstract]. PM R. 2022; 14(S1)(suppl 1). https://pmrjabstracts.org/abstract/the-impact-of-the-covid-19-pandemic-on-physical-activity-levels-and-access-to-fitness-programs-for-children-with-disabilities/. Accessed December 3, 2023.
« Back to AAPM&R Annual Assembly 2022
PM&R Meeting Abstracts - https://pmrjabstracts.org/abstract/the-impact-of-the-covid-19-pandemic-on-physical-activity-levels-and-access-to-fitness-programs-for-children-with-disabilities/