Physical activity among children with Down’s Syndrome

Forskningsoutput: KonferensbidragSammanfattning (abstract)


Introduction, aim and theoretical framework

About 150 children with Down Syndrome (DS) are born in Sweden every year. According to the Swedish National Sports Confederation, these children have the right to play sports and to be physically active like other children. Sports for children should be based on children’s own needs and circumstances and take into account of the variations in development. Children with DS have been shown to have low fitness, poor motor skills, very lo participation in sports activities and a high prevalence of overweight (Whitt-Glover et al, 2006). The aim of the study was to investigate sports habits and physical activity (PA) among children and adolescents with DS in the age 8-18 years in Sweden.


Information was obtained by a questionnaire performed among families with children with DS, all information was given by the parents. Furthermore, new additional questions focusing on PA and sports participation, attitudes and living habits among both children and adults were included. The sample consisted of 310 children with DS and their families in Sweden. The statistics were carried out by using SPSS. Additional information on children’s PA was given in written narratives. The written information was analyzed with qualitative text analyses.


Overall activity patterns among children with DS seemed to be quite similar to the patterns among other childre without disabilities. A polarized picture emerged in which some were very active and some were completely inactive. Relationships between parents’ own level of PA and children’s activity could be shown, as well as associations between parental involvement in the activities and children’s activity levels. The parents expressed the difficulties children with DS have to participate in sports together with other children. Three main areas could be identified as barriers. 1. Time consuming. The parents stated that it was much time consuming to organize opportunities fo children with DS to engage in sports activities in the family situation. 2. Characteristics of the children. The children are slow and sometimes difficult to motivate which take a lot of effort. They also have physical problems, for example poor motor skills, perceptual difficulties, poor movement planning which exclude participation in many activities. Some parents also indicated a lack of endurance capacity and rapid mood swings as additional factors that contributed to the difficulties. 3. Society and sports clubs. Parents stated that there were few possibilities for PA which are manageable for children with DS offered by the society and sport clubs. Parents didn’t experience any negative reactions from other children without disabilities or their parents when children with DS participated in sports activities with other children. However, they had a feeling that the children with DS slowed down th tempo for the whole group.

Discussion and conclusions

The results highlight the barriers that parents of children with DS experience as detrimental for how much PA children with DS can undertake and the effect that common characteristics associated with DS can have on main taining an active lifestyle. Society and sport clubs seem to have a small range of activities for children with DS.


KonferensNordic Sport Science Conference: ‘The Double-Edged Sword of Sport: Health Promotion Versus Unhealthy Environments’ November 22–23, 2017, Halmstad University
Period80-01-01 → …

Nationell ämneskategori

  • Samhällsvetenskap (5)


Fördjupa i forskningsämnen för ”Physical activity among children with Down’s Syndrome”. Tillsammans bildar de ett unikt fingeravtryck.

Citera det här