Date of Graduation

Summer 2022


Master of Science in Athletic Training



Committee Chair

Rebecca Woodard


Research has found autistic children to be 40% more likely to be obese compared to their non-autistic peers. Reduced physical activity (PA) is thought to be a contributing factor to the increased prevalence of obesity in autistic children. This was one of the first studies to investigate the PA behaviors of autistic children during an adapted physical education (APE) class using accelerometry. The purpose of this study was to examine the PA of autistic children and determine the relationship between PA and obesity. Participants were recruited from a school for students with disabilities who participate in a once-weekly APE class at a large Midwest university and grouped by weight classification (overweight or obese). PA was measured by wearing an accelerometer during the one-hour visit. Height and weight data were provided by participants’ teachers. Independent sample t-tests were used to compare group differences. A correlation analysis was used to determine the relationship between PA and BMI score. A simple linear regression analysis was used to determine the predictability of BMI score based on PA. No significant differences were observed between groups and no relationship between PA and BMI were observed.


autism, physical activity, accelerometry, adapted physical education, body mass index

Subject Categories

Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Medicine and Health Sciences | Mental Disorders | Pediatrics | Sports Sciences


© Cody A. Mullins

Open Access