The physical activity monitoring study: Examining physical activity preferences among children and youth with physical disabilities


Children and youth with disabilities (CWD) are less physically active, and participate in less community-based sport and physical activity programs than their typically developing peers. This is problematic because there are numerous health benefits associated with regular physical activity (PA) participation, including physical and social well-being and quality of life. The PA patterns of children and youth without disabilities has received some attention in the literature, however, little is known about the PA preferences of CWD. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine PA preferences of CWD. Methods: Participants (n=34; Mage = 15.35 ± 3.26 years; 62% male) completed a one-time, paper and pencil questionnaire consisting of a series of questions related to PA and sedentary behaviour and preferences related to types of PA, intensity, location, and timing of activity. Results: Participants were most interested in swimming (74.2%), basketball (41.9%), and soccer (38.7%). The most preferred time for taking part in PA programs was during the afterschool hours (41.9%). Participants were most interested in being active with their close friends (63.3%), in a gym setting (60%), and in PA that is perceived to be of moderate intensity (54.8%). Conclusion: Findings from this study shed new light on the desire of CWD to participate in community-based PA settings, alongside their close friends. The results of this study have implications for community settings which may have previously overlooked the opportunities to provide positive PA experiences for CWD.