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


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.

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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.


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

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Authors and Affiliations



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.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jeanette M. Garcia.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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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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Garcia, J.M., Leahy, N., Rivera, P. et al. Brief Report: Preliminary Efficacy of a Judo Program to Promote Participation in Physical Activity in Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord 50, 1418–1424 (2020).

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