Journal Article

Physical activity levels in adults with intellectual disabilities: A systematic review


Despite evidence that inactivity is a major factor causing ill health in people with intellectual disabilities (pwID) there are gaps in our knowledge of their physical activity (PA). To date, there is no published systematic review of their PA levels. Therefore, we performed a systematic review from January–October 2015, comprising studies from across the globe to establish PA levels, determine how they were measured, and what factors influenced PA in adults with intellectual disabilities (awID). Five databases were searched. Studies were included if written in English, peer-reviewed, had primary research data, and measured PA levels of awID. Quality was assessed using a 19-item checklist. Meta-summary of the findings was performed and a meta-analysis of factors influencing PA using multiple regression. Fifteen studies were included consisting of 3159 awID, aged 16–81 years, 54% male and 46% female. Only 9% of participants achieved minimum PA guidelines. PA levels were measured using objective and subjective methods. ID severity, living in care, gender, and age were independently significantly correlated with the number of participants achieving PA guidelines with the strongest predictor being ID severity (Beta 0.631, p < 0.001). Findings should be in the context that most of the participants were in the mild/moderate range of ID severity and none of the studies objectively measured PA in people with profound ID. To inform measurement and intervention design for improved PA, we recommend that there is an urgent need for future PA studies in awID population to include all disability severity levels. PROSPERO registration number CRD42015016675.

Attached files


Dairo, Y
Collett, J
Dawes, H
Oskrochi, G

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment\Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mathematical Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences\Department of Sport and Health Sciences


Year of publication: 2016
Date of RADAR deposit: 2016-10-26

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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