Sedentary behaviour levels in adults with an intellectual disability: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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Thank you to Louise Lynch, Research Assistant & PhD Student (School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland) for sharing her paper titled “Sedentary behaviour levels in adults with an intellectual disability: a systematic review and meta-analysis,” which was recently published in HRB Open Research. The full publication is available here. Citation details and the summary of the paper are re-posted below.


Lynch, L., McCarron, M., McCallion, P., & Burke, E. (2022). Sedentary behaviour levels in adults with an intellectual disability: a systematic review and meta-analysis. HRB Open Research4, 69.


Background: Sedentary behaviour (SB), which is characterised by low levels of energy expenditure, has been linked to increased cardio-metabolic risks, obesity and mortality, as well as cancer risk. No firm guidelines are established on safe levels of SB. Adults with an intellectual disability (ID) have poorer health than their counterparts in the general population with higher rates of multi-morbidity, inactivity, and obesity. The reasons for this health disparity are unclear however it is known that SB and overall inactivity contribute to poorer health. There is no clear picture of the levels of SB among individuals with ID therefore SB levels in this vulnerable population need to be examined. The aim of this systematic review is to investigate the prevalence of sedentary behaviour in adults with an ID.

Methods: The PRISMA-P framework was applied to identify high quality articles. An extensive search was carried out in four databases and grey literature sources . In total, 1,972 articles were retrieved of which 48 articles went forward for full review after duplicate removal and screening by title and abstract. The National Institute of Health’s quality assessment tools were used to assess article quality. Two reviewers independently assessed each article. An excel spreadsheet was created to guide the data extraction process. The final review included 25 articles. A meta-analysis was completed using REVMAN.

Results: Different SB assessment types were identified in studies. These included steps, time, questionnaires, and screen time. Studies were heterogeneous. Observed daily steps per individual ranged from 44 to above 30,000, with an average of approximately 6,500 steps. Mean daily time spent in SBs was more than 60% of available time, with observed screen time of more than 3 hours.

Conclusion: There is a high prevalence of SB in adults with an intellectual disability.
[Registration no: Index CRD42020177225].

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