I was startled to read the latest report from the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) on the rate of obesity among teens with intellectual disabilities and autism:
- 13.1% of teenagers without developmental disabilities
- 20% of teenagers with intellectual disabilities
- 32% of teenagers with autism
With obesity comes other health problems, including asthma and migraine headaches. An additional study last month associated obesity in children with ASD with increased anxiety, depression, and sleep problems. Certainly, some of the children with autism experience nutritional problems. Others are challenged by the use of psychotropic medications, which can cause severe weight gain. So, there are a number of factors to consider when examining causes of obesity.
Here are some previous blogs that I’ve written that address exercise and obesity:
- Why Are Children With Disabilities at a Higher Risk for Obesity
- Physical Fitness Helps with Autism Challenges
- Ready, Set Ride
- Autism Friendly Winter Activities
Given these latest statistics, I am even more grateful that Variety’s “My Bike” program has recently expanded to Erie County! Variety’s “My Bike” program gives customized, adapted bicycles to eligible children with disabilities. The program’s goal is to offer these children a chance to have more opportunities to spend time with their families. This will be a great extension of our own adapted biking program at ELBS – many of our students blossom while riding bikes around the school gym. To have the opportunity to share this experience with their families outside of school is a real blessing.
Whether it is bicycling, walking, running, or swimming, let’s get our children active and begin to help fight this epidemic of obesity! Please let me know what your favorite family fitness activities are.