Physical Activity Frequency of Special Olympics Athletes Aged 8–18 Across Economic Status

Kathryn Rozak, John T. Foley, Cathy MacDonald, Rebecca Bryan, Meghann Lloyd, Viviene Temple


The purpose of the study was to examine self-reported physical activity  frequency of an international sample of children and youth aged 8–17 who participate in Special Olympics across economic status. A secondary aim was to determine if there was a difference between males and females in physical activity frequency across economic status.
Data from 12,243 children and youth were available from the Special Olympics International Healthy Athletes Database after data cleaning (7819 male and 4424 female). Prevalence rates were calculated with confidence intervals for physical activity occurring less than three days per week, or three or more days per week across economic status of country (low; lower middle; upper middle and high income status). A series of Chi-square tests were used to determine the differences in physical activity frequency across economic status and gender. Overall, 65.4% of Special Olympics participants from low–income, 40.8% from lower-middle-income, 50.8% from uppermiddle-income, and 61.6% from high-income economies reported 3 or more days of physical activity per week.
Additionally, male Special Olympic athletes tended to be more physically active than their female counterparts.
Further research is needed to understand reasons for these differences and determine how to increase overall physical activity.

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