The National Physical Activity Measurement (NPAM) study for children and youth with disabilities: Movement behaviour guideline adherence and participation levels


Inequities in physical activity (PA) for children and youth with disabilities (CYD) are well-documented. A reliable population-specific evidence base of PA, as well as screen-time and sleep, is needed to inform effective programs and policies to support CYD's PA. Data from a national surveillance study on movement behaviours in CYD was used to determine guideline adherence and participation levels in CYD, while also testing for age and gender differences. Parent-reported data (N=469 CYD aged 5 to 17 years; Mage = 10.2 ± 3.1 years; 71% boys; 49% developmental disability) were collected on child PA, screen-time and sleep behaviours. Items were derived from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children survey, International Physical Activity Questionnaire-Adolescents and the ISCOLE. Independent t-tests and logistic regressions were used to evaluate group differences. Overall, 2.1%, 20.0%, and 74.0% of the sample met the guideline for PA, sedentary behaviour and sleep, respectively. Less than 1% met all three guidelines. On average, daily time spent in movement behaviours was: 42.8 mins of moderate PA and 29.1 mins of vigorous PA; 5.4 hours in screen-time, and 10 hours of sleep. Compared to youth (aged 12-17), children (aged 5-11) accurred more sleep and less screen-time (ps<.03). Adherence to the screen time guideline was higher for children versus youth (p<.001). Boys spent more time in sleep than girls (p=.013). No other gender differences were found. These findings provide evidence of lower PA levels and higher screen time in CYD living in Canada when compared to national recommendations.

Acknowledgments: This work was supported by a Partnership Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Grant no. 895-2013-1021) and Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities.