Tracy L. Jirikowic, Cheryl I. Kerfeld; Health-Promoting Physical Activity of Children Who Use Assistive Mobility Devices: A Scoping Review. Am J Occup Ther 2016;70(5):7005180050. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.021543
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© 2021 American Occupational Therapy Association
Children with physical disabilities who use assistive mobility devices (AMDs) are at risk for obesity and other secondary health conditions. Habitual physical activity is one lifestyle factor that may prevent obesity and contribute to overall health, and an active lifestyle in childhood improves prospects for lifelong healthy behaviors. Child, family, and environmental facilitators and barriers influence health-promoting physical activity (HPPA) for children without disabilities, but comparable models and levels of understanding for children who use AMDs are lacking. In this scoping review, we identified a similar set of child, family, and environmental facilitators and barriers relevant to HPPA participation among children who use AMDs. Noted gaps in the literature included limited reporting of AMD use, inconsistent HPPA definitions, and inadequate measurement tools for children who are nonambulatory. The identified child, family, and environmental factors provide a framework for occupational therapy practitioners and interprofessional teams to develop HPPA opportunities and interventions for an underserved population.
Occupational therapy practitioners have a role in promoting HPPA as part of a healthy lifestyle for children with disabilities to prevent obesity and other secondary health conditions.
A complex interplay of factors influence HPPA among children who use AMDs. Using core skills, occupational therapy practitioners can evaluate, modify, and support child, family, and environmental factors to facilitate HPPA that matches individual and family needs and preferences. This can help establish early habits that may have lifelong implications for obesity management or prevention.
Organization- and population-based interventions may be useful to promote HPPA in home, school, and community contexts as part of a comprehensive, interprofessional approach to prevent obesity in children who use AMDs. These interventions include advocating for and developing accessible and flexible community-based programs and shaping high-quality personnel.
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