Update on physical activity including special needs populations.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Childhood obesity rates remain high, especially among adolescents, minorities, and children with disabilities. The American Academy of Pediatrics and American Medical Association have released recommendations for childhood obesity treatment and prevention which include interventions related to physical and sedentary activity. This review explores recent updates in the area of physical activity and sedentary behavior related to these recommendations as well as emerging evidence relevant to physical activity among children with disabilities.

RECENT FINDINGS: Safety and access are among some of the environmental barriers to children’s participation in extracurricular physical activity that need to be addressed. Analyses of the relationship between physical activity and sedentary screen time continue to show inconsistent results, although evidence in support of active video games is increasing. Children with disabilities are a special subpopulation for whom physical activity should particularly be encouraged.

SUMMARY: Increased physical activity and decreased sedentary behaviors are essential components of obesity management in children with and without disabilities. Pediatric providers are encouraged to address barriers to physical activity with all families and act as advocates for changes in the local community that support access to physical activity for all children.