Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Exercise and Health Science

First Advisor

Richard K. Fleming

Second Advisor

Carol Curtin

Third Advisor

Philemon N. Gona


Children with intellectual disabilities (ID) have higher rates of obesity and other lifestyle related diseases when compared to their typically developing peers. Although this population may be challenging to study given the potential inability to collect accurate self-report data, parent-proxy data collection could reveal potential associations between the Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of these children and lifestyle factors such as barriers to physical activity (PA) and dietary concern. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine barriers to PA, parental concern over diet, and HRQoL in children with ID, including the potential associations between barriers to PA and dietary concern and HRQoL. Methods: participants were recruited from The Arc of Massachusetts and were included if they were a parent/caretaker of a child aged 8-12 with ID. Two portions of existing surveys were used to assess barriers to PA and parental concern over diet while a complete assessment was utilized to measure HRQoL. From these assessments, variables were constructed to reflect not only the number of barriers or concerns but also the extent to which barriers and concerns over diet existed for these children. The HRQoL assessment was divided into a physical functioning subscale score and a psychosocial functioning subscale as well as a total average HRQoL. Both the number and extent of barriers and concerns over diet were correlated with total HRQoL as well as with both subscales. Results: Extent of barriers to PA was found to be significantly negatively correlated with total HRQoL (-.75, p=.00) and the Psychosocial Functioning Subscale (PSF) of HRQoL (-.83, p=.00). Combined extent of barriers and degree of concern was significantly correlated with total HRQoL (-0.73, p=.0001) and PSF (-.82, p=.00). Lastly, the number of barriers reported was also significantly correlated with total HRQoL (-.56, p=.006) and PSF (-.60, p=.002). Conclusion: Barriers to PA appear to be more associated with HRQoL than parental concern over diet. Furthermore, these barriers are more associated with overall HRQoL and the psychosocial functioning subscale than with the physical functioning component of HRQoL.


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