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Small steps in fitness, major leaps in health for adults with intellectual disabilities (2020)

Physical fitness is positively related to health outcomes like morbidity and all-cause mortality, with minimally required cutoff values to generate those health benefits. Individuals with intellectual disability (ID) exhibit very low fitness levels well below those cutoff values. Our novel hypothesis is that even among very unfit, older adults with ID, small changes in fitness translate to major changes in health.

Key Points

  • Previous research has identified cutoff values for the minimum physical fitness levels to gain health benefits with regard to future morbidity and mortality.
  • Extremely unfit populations may not be able to reach those cutoff values, and it is unknown how improvements in fitness impacts health in these populations.
  • Aging individuals with intellectual disabilities are extremely unfit and likely will not reach those cutoff values identified for the general population.
  • Our data support that even small differences at the lower end of the physical fitness spectrum are associated with health benefits, which supports a stronger focus on improving fitness among individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Literatuurverwijzing: Oppewal, A., Maes-Festen, D., & Hilgenkamp, T.I.M. (2020). Small steps in fitness, major leaps in health for adults with intellectual disabilities. Exercise and Sport Sciences Review 48 (pp. 92-97)