Evidence for increasing physical activity in children with physical disabilities: a systematic review

Manon Bloemen*, Leontien Van Wely, Jurgen Mollema, Annet Dallmeijer, Janke de Groot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Aim: To summarize the best evidence of interventions for increasing physical activity in children with physical disabilities. Method: A systematic review was conducted using an electronic search executed in Academic Search Elite, Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, Embase, MEDLINE, PEDro, PsychINFO, and SPORTDiscus up to February 2016. The selection of articles was performed independently by two researchers according to predetermined eligibility criteria. Data extraction, methodological quality, and levels of evidence were independently assessed by two researchers using a data-collection form from the Cochrane Collaboration and according to the guidelines of the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine. Results: Seven studies were included. Five randomized controlled trials ranged from strong level I to weak level II studies, and two pre–post design studies were classified as level IV. There is level I evidence for no effect of physical training on objectively measured physical activity, conflicting level II evidence for interventions with a behavioural component on the increase of objectively measured physical activity directly after the intervention, and level II evidence for no effect during follow-up. Results are limited to children with cerebral palsy as no other diagnoses were included. Interpretation: Increasing physical activity in children with physical disabilities is very complex and demands further development and research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1004-1010
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017

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