[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The prevention of obesity in children with DD is a pressing public health issue, with implications for health status, independent living, and quality of life. Substantial evidence suggests that children with developmental disabilities (DD), including those with intellectual disabilities (ID) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), have a prevalence of obesity at least as high if not higher than their typically developing peers. The paper reviews what is known about the classic and unique risk factors for childhood obesity in these groups of children, including dietary, physical activity, sedentary behavior, and family factors, as well as medication use. We use evidence from the literature to make the case that primary prevention at the individual/family, school and community levels will require tailoring of strategies and adapting existing intervention approaches.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract Background: Pediatricians cite a lack of physical activity referral (PAR) opportunities as a major barrier to treating obesity. However, no literature exists on PARs for youth in the clinical setting. This study explores the feasibility of implementing PARs in a pediatric obesity clinic. Methods: Patients ages 6-18 years in an obesity clinic from July 2010 to October 2011 were referred to PARs in their community. Researchers confirmed enrollment and participation in activities by follow-up phone calls. Results: Of 130 eligible youth, 102 (78%) agreed to be referred to a physical activity program; 45 (35%) enrolled and 35 (27%) reported actually participating in an activity, for an average of 1.4 hours per week. Youth participated in 9 of 69 available activity programs included in the PAR network. Patient characteristics at baseline did not predict participation in an activity. Youth referred to organizations that contacted interested families were 5 times as likely to enroll in activities as youth referred to organizations that did not contact families (p<0.001). Conclusion: Although only 27% of eligible youth participated in an activity through the PAR network, exposing 1 in 4 obese youth to 1.4 hours of physical activity weekly could have a significant public health impact. These results suggest that PAR networks for overweight and obese youth should focus on organizations that have the infrastructure to contact youth and their families, and that a small number of physical activity programs could form the basis for launching PAR networks.
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