All children benefit from physical activity (PA) including those with physical disabilities who use assistive mobility devices (AMD: wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, canes). PA improves health-related fitness and overall health and function. Despite these benefits, children who are AMD users are more restricted in their PA, have lower levels of health-related fitness, and higher levels of obesity and other secondary health concerns than their peers who are not AMD users. This represents a significant health disparity.
Differences in PA in children without disabilities is explained by a complex web of child, family, and environmental facilitators and barriers. However, factors that influence PA of children who are AMD users have not been studied. Therefore, an understanding of the most pertinent facilitators and barriers that help or hinder health-promoting PA for this population is a critical first step.
This Tier I Pipeline to Proposal project aims to fill this gap by creating a network of stakeholders, including children who use AMD, their families, school and clinic personnel (physical therapists, occupational therapists, physical education instructors, and teachers), community organizations, and industry, who are invested in identifying the facilitators and barriers to PA of children who are AMD users. This stakeholder involvement is necessary groundwork to inform future national multisite research efforts to develop and compare targeted interventions to promote PA in school-age children who are AMD users with the ultimate goal of fostering long-term healthy lifestyles.