In 2019, the UK Chief Medical Officers’ (CMOs) physical activity guidelines were updated.1 These new guidelines provided physical activity recommendations for non-disabled and disabled adults, older adults aged 65 years and over, women during pregnancy and during postpartum, individuals aged under 5 years, and non-disabled children and young people. However, there was no review of the physical activity evidence for disabled children and disabled young people in the 2019 UK guidelines. This gap was recognised and it was recommended that specific public health guidelines needed to be developed for this group.1 In 2021, the UK Government Department of Health and Social Care (on behalf of the CMOs) tasked us to review the evidence on physical activity pertaining to disabled children and disabled young people aged between 5 and 17 and, if sufficient evidence, communicate the guidelines appropriately.2
Our review found no evidence to show that physical activity is unsafe for disabled children and disabled young people, while also indicating various benefits of physical activity for this population who can participate in active physical activities.3 We also recommended that disabled children and disabled young people should do challenging strength and balance-focused activities on average three times per week.3 There was evidence that some physical activity is better than nothing, and that even small amounts can bring health benefits. Our review identified that substantial health gains …
Twitter @BrettSmithProf, @FosteratBristol
Contributors BS led the project with support from CF. BS, JN, PJ and LB managed the coproduction process. BS and CF outlined the manuscript and supplementary material. All authors contributed to the development and writing of the work.
Funding Department of Health and Social Care and the Economic and Social Research Council (Durham University Impact Acceleration Account).
Competing interests LB reports as the Get Yourself Active Programme Manager of Disability Rights UK. Disability Rights UK is the leading charity of its kind in the UK. We are run by and for people with lived experience of disability or health conditions. BB and JB report as employers for the Department of Health and Social Care.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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