October is National Physical Therapy Month! As I considered possible blog topics, one of our physical therapists, Christina Gross, PT, MS, forwarded me an excellent article about the current research regarding physical activity and children with ASD. The article reviews recent evidence that suggests that childhood obesity is increasing among children with developmental disabilities, including ASD.
Some key points include:
- There are 3 potential factors contributing to obesity in children with disabilities:
- Low physical activity – Children with disabilities are less likely to engage in and sustain in exercise, when compared to their typical peers. However, limited physical activity levels can also be attributed to their impairments in their communication, sensory, and behavioral domains.
- Poor nutrition – Children with ASD demonstrated a more limited food repertoire and may have oral, olfactory, and gustatory hyper-sensitivity, leading to aversions of foods of certain textures and smells.
- Medication use – Some psychoactive drugs, including anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and stimulants, often lead to weight gain.
- Children and adolescents with ASD may not understand long-term risks associated with obesity. Their parents, often burdened by the challenges of autism, may neglect physical activity and nutrition.
For a more in-depth analysis of their findings, read the full research article here.
Health, wellness, and a fitness regime are essential components of all children’s lifestyles. Physical therapists are integral members of the team when developing these programs for children with disabilities. We are so lucky to have our physical therapy staff:
Chris Gross, P.T., M.S.
Vincent Massella, P.T.A.
Marsha Nevinsky, P.T., B.S.
Thank you all!!