Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 785–794

Physical Activity Levels, Frequency, and Type Among Adolescents with and Without Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Heidi I. Stanish
  • Carol Curtin
  • Aviva Must
  • Sarah Phillips
  • Melissa Maslin
  • Linda G. Bandini
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-016-3001-4

Cite this article as:
Stanish, H.I., Curtin, C., Must, A. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2017) 47: 785. doi:10.1007/s10803-016-3001-4


We compared time spent in moderate and vigorous physical activity (MVPA), type, and frequency of participation in physical activities between adolescents with ASD (n = 35) and typically developing (TD) adolescents (n = 60). Accelerometers measured MVPA and participants were interviewed about engagement in physical activities. Adolescents with ASD spent less time in MVPA compared to TD adolescents (29 min/day vs. 50 min/day, p < 0.001) and fewer met the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (14 vs. 29%, p > 0.05). Among adolescents <16 years old, those with ASD participated in fewer activities than TD adolescents (5.3 vs. 7.1 activities, p < 0.03). Walking/hiking and active video gaming were among the top activities for both groups. Findings support the need for interventions that meet the needs of youth with ASD.


Accelerometry Physical activity Youth Health Exercise Autism spectrum disorder 

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
  • HD059100
  • HD059100-S1
  • HD004147
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
  • DK046200

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Exercise and Health SciencesUniversity of Massachusetts BostonBostonUSA
  2. 2.Eunice Kennedy Shriver CenterUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA
  3. 3.Department of Public Health and Community MedicineTufts University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Health SciencesBoston UniversityBostonUSA

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