Secondary barriers to physical activity for adults with mild and moderate learning disabilities

Peter R. Messent, Carlton Cooke, Jonathon Long

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    20 Citations (Scopus)


    Physical inactivity as a risk factor for coronary artery disease is comparable with the other three primary risk factors (hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and smoking history), but is significantly more prevalent. Evidence shows that people with learning disabilities are typically amongst the most inactive and sedentary members of the population, yet few studies have explained why. The aim of the present study was to establish whether adults with learning disabilities receive adequate support to be able to make choices to lead a physically active lifestyle. Participants volunteered from two residential homes and one social education centre in two cities in the north of England. Interviews were conducted with 24 adults with mild or moderate learning disabilities (mean age of 34 years). The interviews were recorded and transcribed and the content was analysed. An emerging theme was barriers to exercise, which were subsequently subdivided into primary and secondary barriers. Identified secondary barriers included: differences in how 'ordinary living principles' were interpreted by day and residential carers; parental influence; arguments associated with integrated versus segregated leisure provision; and what is meant by 'age appropriateness'.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)247-263
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Intellectual Disabilities
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2000


    • Coronary artery disease
    • Exercise
    • Physical inactivity


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