Physical activity differences for college students with disabilities

Jamie Valis, Ph.D., Michelle Gonzalez, Ph.D.

Disability and Health Journal, January 2017, Volume 10, Issue 1, Pages 87–92



Previous literature suggests that individuals with disabilities have increased rates of obesity and decreased participation in physical activity contributing to overall higher incidence of secondary health conditions compared to the general population without disabilities.


The purpose of this research study was to examine the differences in physical activity rates for college students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Learning Disabilities (LD).


A secondary analysis was utilized to examine differences in physical activity rates based on disability, gender, and factors influencing participation in physical activity. The 2011 Fall National College Health Assessment was used as the reference group with a sample of 27,774 students. Multiple independent samples t-tests were utilized in this research.


The results of this study indicated that physical activity for college students with disabilities does not have significant variations compared to those without disabilities. However, gender influences participation in physical activity for this population.


This research helps in narrowing the research gap in this topic through analysis of the college population with ADHD and LD. This paper concludes with implications that could benefit the health status of this population.