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Taylor & Francis

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Disability and Rehabilitation

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Sedentary behavior (SB) is widely studied as it is associated with cardiometabolic health and obesity issues. However, children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) have been understudied. Accelerometers are commonly used to measure SB in typically developing populations but may be inappropriate for IDD populations due to differences in body movement and physiologic responses to the activity. The use of Evenson sedentary cut-points, created based on typically developing children, has yet to be applied and/or examined in children with IDD.


A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted to (1) Assess the feasibility of applying Evenson sedentary cut-points in children with IDD (2) Describe SB over a two-week period between diagnosis groups.


The SB of 22 participants (8 children with Down syndrome, 6 children with spina bifida, 8 children with no chronic illness) was assessed on two separate occasions: (1) during a 7-minute sedentary protocol, and (2) over a two-week period.


The study supports the preliminary efficacy of using Evenson cut-points for this population, with 100% of participants being within the Evenson counts per minute (0–100 cpm) during the 7-minute sedentary protocol. The total volume of SB over a two-week period was not significantly different between diagnosis groups (8.8 h, 8.6 h, and 7.1 h of SB for children with Down syndrome, spina bifida, or those with no chronic illness, respectively; p = 0.36).


Evenson sedentary cut-points can be used for children with IDD. Preliminary data suggest that children with IDD do not engage in significantly different SB than children without a chronic illness. Further study is warranted.

  • Implications for rehabilitation
  • Objective measures of physical activity and sedentary behavior for children with Down syndrome or spina bifida are rarely used due to potential differences in body movement (e.g., gait) during ambulation compared to typically developing peers that may influence the accuracy of cut-points.
  • This study supports that Evenson sedentary cut-points can be used in children with Down syndrome or spina bifida to assess sedentary activity.
  • Preliminary findings from this study demonstrate similarities in patterns of sedentary behaviors exhibited by our sample of children with Down syndrome, spina bifida, or no chronic illness.


Accepted version. Disability and Rehabilitation, Vol. 44, No. 10 (2022): 1996-2001. DOI. © 2022 Taylor & Francis. Used with permission.

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