Vigorous Activity Rates Are Higher in Children with ASD than Neurotypical Controls

December 04, 2023

Kids on the Spectrum Also Spent Less Time Being Sedentary

New research from scientists in Saudi Arabia has analyzed sedentary behavior and physical activity (PA) levels in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and compared those levels with typically developing (TD) children. Overall, the study found that the time spent in PA and total activity levels did not differ significantly between children with ASD and TD controls. However, the authors discovered that vigorous activity was substantially higher in kids with autism compared with TD children. The researchers also found that participants on the spectrum spent less time in sedentary activity than TD controls. These findings align with previous studies comparing children with special needs to neurotypical controls. The authors theorize that the increased rate of vigorous activity could be due to the higher glutamate levels in children with autism, which could provide energy for the brain to dispose of excess neurotransmitters. Furthermore, the study explored the association between increased aggressive PA in participants with autism and sleep problems experienced in the disorder, suggesting that the two conditions are linked. Ultimately, the authors found that an excess of PA may be detrimental and could be responsible for the harmful effects that lead to the increase in aggression in children with autism.

Original Study

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