Brief Report: Preliminary Efficacy of a Judo Program to Promote Participation in Physical Activity in Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Jeanette M. GarciaEmail author
  • Nicholas Leahy
  • Paola Rivera
  • Justine Renziehausen
  • Judith Samuels
  • David H. Fukuda
  • Jeffrey R. Stout
Brief Report


To examine the preliminary efficacy of an 8-week judo program to promote moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and reduce sedentary behavior (SB) in youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Fourteen children diagnosed with ASD participated in a weekly judo program over a period of 8 weeks. Participants wore an Actigraph accelerometer to measure activity levels at baseline and post-judo. All 14 children attended at least 75% of the 8 judo classes. Percentage of time spent in daily MVPA (8% vs 4%, p = .05) increased following the intervention. A high rate of participation and an increase in time spent in MVPA was observed following the 8-week program. Further research to examine causal mechanisms is warranted.


Autism Spectrum Disorder Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity Sedentary behavior Accelerometry 



The authors would like to acknowledge the Toni Jennings Exceptional Education Institute for all of their support for this study, and a special thanks to all of the participants who made this study possible.

Author Contributions

JMG conceptualized the study, analyzed the data, and wrote the manuscript. NL assisted with data analysis, interpretation of results, and writing/editing the manuscript. PR assisted with data collection, and writing/editing the manuscript. JR assisted with data collection and writing/editing the manuscript. JS assisted with conceptualizing the study, and writing/editing the manuscript. DHF assisted with data analysis and writing/editing the manuscript. JRS assisted with interpretation of the results and writing/editing the manuscript.


The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Research Involving Human Participants

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. No research was performed on animals in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health Sciences, College of Health Professions and SciencesUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA
  2. 2.School of Kinesiology and Physical Therapy, College of Health Professions and SciencesUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA
  3. 3.Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, College of Health Professions and SciencesUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA

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