Graduation Date

Fall 2016

Document Type



Master of Science degree with a major in Kinesiology, option Teaching/Coaching

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Christopher Hopper

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Jayne McGuire

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Dr. Sean Healy

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff


TOPIC: There is a vast body of research revealing low levels of physical activity, excessive use of electronic media, and increasing obesity rates for children in the United States and Europe. This study measures differences in physical activity, screen time, and Body Mass Index (BMI) between typically developing (TD) children and children with learning disabilities (LD). METHODS: The study included 404, thirteen year old Irish children with an LD diagnosis and 440 randomly selected 13 year olds that are typically developing. Children self-reported on how many days in the past two weeks they participated in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and light physical activity for more than 20 minutes. Participants also reported on how much time they spent watching television, playing video games, or using a computer in an average week. Body Mass Index (BMI) was measured for each child and they were classified as non-overweight, overweight, or obese. RESULTS: There was a significant difference in the number of children with LD who reported having less than 5 days of MVPA and light physical activity in the past two weeks in comparison to TD children. Children with LD had significantly larger amounts of total screen time, and nearly twice as many children with LD (5.1%) were obese compared to TD children (3.6%). A positive association was found between physical activity measures and screen time measures for children with LD. CONCLUSION: This study revealed lower levels of physical activity and higher amounts of screen time for children with LD when compared to TD children.

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