New research aims to get sedentary young people with disabilities active

Helping young people with long-term disabilities who are unable to walk, to spend less time being sedentary, is the subject of National Institute of Health Research-funded clinical doctoral research by physiotherapist Marilyn Bradbury

    Marilyn Bradbury Pediatric neuro physiotherapist at Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust

    Whilst working in the community with young people who are non-ambulant, I’ve always strongly advocated maximising the time they are able to move around for each day.

    However, when they are in busy home, educational or work environments, it can be difficult for young people and those who support them to focus on that.

    I hope that the intervention we are designing will help them to be more motivated to seek opportunities to move more in their daily routines, and to enjoy making the most of them.

    Being sedentary means sitting or lying down whilst awake, and not using much energy. Evidence suggests long periods of sedentary time can increase the risk of poor health, for example obesity, cardiac conditions and type II diabetes.

    Children with disabilities spend more time being sedentary than children who don’t have a disability.

    There are no evidence-based interventions to help young people with disabilities to reduce their sedentary time. This will be the first of its kind.

    Our digitally enabled intervention will be designed in partnership with young people aged 12-25, their families, professionals (including physiotherapists) and experts.

    They will participate in online workshops involving anonymous web-based conversations, or face-to-face focus groups.

    I encourage physio staff working in this field to visit our website Do more to find out more, get involved, and encourage young people they support and their families to do the same.

    A small group of young people will test the intervention, wearing sensors that record body movements, giving feedback about how much they are moving.

    The intervention will include behaviour change techniques to support the young people to move more during their daily routines.

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