Anthropometric characteristics, grip strength and physical activity levels of children with physical disabilities: a case study.
Dorfling, Micaela Ashley.
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Physical disability impedes the completion of daily functioning and tasks in children with disability often resulting in exclusion from participating in physical activity. The problem is that a lack of physical activity results in a higher risk of non-communicable lifestyle diseases, to which an individual with physical disability is already predisposed. The participation of children with disability in sports and recreational activities promotes inclusion, minimises deconditioning, optimises physical functioning, and enhances overall well-being. Despite these benefits, children with disability are more restricted in their participation, have lower levels of fitness, and have higher levels of obesity than their peers without disabilities. Therefore, the screening and monitoring of children using simple health indicators such as anthropometry, physical activity levels and grip strength is essential to identify children who may be at risk for chronic diseases, for those who can improve their quality of life through changes in their lifestyle; and it can help raise awareness of the need to increase their participation in physical activity. Often physical activity is underestimated for children with disability, well-informed decisions with regards to types and best suited physical activity programmes are more easily formulated following identification of overall health status and individual activity preferences, such as through measurement of physical activity levels, anthropometric characteristics and hand grip strength.