Publication: Promoting Physical Activity Among Children and Adolescents With Disabilities: The Translation of Policy to Practice Internationally in Journal of Physical Activity and Health

Research Impact: Approximately 15% of the world’s population have disabilities. In this paper, policies that focused on physical activity for children and adolescents with disabilities are highlighted and using data from the recent round of the Global Matrix, countries that disaggregated data by disability status were asked to report how their governments influence the physical activity behaviours of children with disabilities. In addition, supporting documents from the United Nations Human Rights Council were synthesized to demonstrate the transition of policy to practice.

In short, there have been international and national movements to improve policies related to physical activity for children and adolescents with disabilities. Despite these policies, large data gaps exist. For example, of the 57 countries involved in the Global Matrix 4.0, 14 countries or jurisdictions provided information about physical activity of children and adolescents with disabilities. Of which, limited data were available. however, the Global matrix is also not fully comprehensive as other countries that submitted to the United Nations human rights council report on physical activity of people with disabilities are not involved in the Global Matrix 4.0, or did not collaborate with an exercise called the Para Report Cards. Despite these limitations, there were some insights into policies for children with disabilities. In Ireland, there were reasonable levels of policy documents, with a grade of B (that is equivalent to a HEPA PAT score of 67.5), yet when it came down to PA behaviours, the overall grade was an F, that means less than 20% of children and adolescents with disabilities did, on average, sufficient amounts of physical activity, took part in organised sports, active play, active transport or had less than 2h of recreational screen time. This is known as the policy to behaviour gap, and is highlighted in this paper, as commonly found in other countries too.

Sit, C., Aubert, S., Carty, C., Silva, D.A.S., López-Gil, J.F., Asunta, P., Palad, Y., Guisihan, R., Lee, J., Nicitopoulos, K.P.A. and Vanderloo, L.M., Stanish, H., Haegele, J., Urbanaski, P.K., Pozerience, J., Hutzler, Y. and Ng, K.  2022. Promoting physical activity among children and adolescents with disabilities: the translation of policy to practice internationally. Journal of Physical Activity and Health19(11), pp.758-768.

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