All children benefit from physical activity (PA), including those with 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 and 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 are 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.
Our Tier II Pipeline to Proposal Keep on Movin’ project aims to fill this gap by creating a network of patients/caregivers (children who use AMD and their families) and community stakeholders (school and clinic personnel including physical therapists, occupational therapists, therapeutic recreational therapists, speech therapists, physical education instructors, teachers, community organizations, industry, and government) who are invested in identifying the facilitators and barriers to PA of children who are AMD users and formulating comparative effectiveness research (CER) questions. This partnership’s project goal is to lay the necessary groundwork to inform future national multisite CER efforts to promote PA in school-age children who are AMD users, with the ultimate goal of fostering long-term healthy lifestyles.