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Percept Mot Skills. 2018 Feb;125(1):126-146. doi: 10.1177/0031512517743823. Epub 2017 Dec 9.

Exercise Effects for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: Metabolic Health, Autistic Traits, and Quality of Life.

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1 Faculty of Physical Education, University of Coimbra, Portugal.
2 Faculty of Physical Education, 28112 Federal University of Alagoas , Maceió, AL, Brazil.
3 Faculty of Physical Education, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, SC, Brazil.


This study examined the effects of a 48-week exercise-based intervention on the metabolic profile, autism traits, and perceived quality of life in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We randomly allocated 64 children with ASD (aged 6-12 years) to experimental ( n = 46) and control groups ( n = 18) and used multilevel regression modeling to examine responses to receiving or not receiving the intervention. The experimental group showed beneficial effects on metabolic indicators (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and total cholesterol), autism traits, and parent-perceived quality of life. Our results provide support for exercise and physical activity, including basic coordination and strength exercises, as important therapeutic interventions for children with ASD.


ASD; developmental disorders; mental health; multilevel modeling; obesity; psychometric tests

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