Promotion of physical exercise in institutionalized people with intellectual disabilities: Age and gender effects

Chia Feng Yen, Jin Ding Lin, Chia Ling Wu, Jung Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this paper was to perform a process evaluation of a health fitness programme for people with intellectual disabilities (ID) and to measure the age and gender effects of the programme's effectiveness. The sample included 146 persons with intellectual disabilities (aged 19-67 years). We examined the effectiveness of the Healthy Physical Fitness Programmes in a Disability Institution measure after a 9-month intervention. The participants'age, gender, disability type and level, height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) information were collected. The physical fitness status determination included a V-shape sit-and-reach test, 30-second sit-ups, 60-second sit-ups, and a shuttle run test (200-m run), conducted initially and at the end of the programme intervention 9 months later. The exercise programme interventions, which were designed and led by institutional caregivers in the study institution, included daily 40-minute exercise activities (four times per week). The results show that there were significant decreases in body weight, BMI level, overall mean BMI, and mean BMI in male participants. The number of 30- and 60-second sit-ups increased significantly in the post-tests. With regard to the effects of age and gender on health fitness activities, the results suggest that both male and female participants significantly improved their performance on the sit-up and shuttle run activities in the post-tests. However, the BMI mean score decreased significantly in the post-test only for the male participants (aged 21-50 years). Generally, the health fitness measures in the study indicate that the 9-month intervention benefits of the exercise programme for people with ID are effective. The study highlights the benefits and importance of health fitness programmes for people with ID.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-94
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Developmental Disabilities
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Exercise
  • Health fitness
  • Health promotion
  • Intellectual disability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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