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Effects of Physical Exercise on the Stereotyped Behavior of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

1
Sport and Physical Activity Research Center (CIDAF), University of Coimbra, 3040-156 Coimbra, Portugal
2
Statistic Department, Federal University of Alagoas, Maceió CEP 57072-970, Brazil
3
Health Sciences Department, Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife CEP 50670-901, Brazil
4
Faculty of Physical Education, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis CEP 88040-900, Brazil
5
High School of Education, Polytechnic Institute of Viseu, 3504-501 Viseu, Portugal
6
Department of Physical Education, Federal University of Alagoas, Maceió CEP 57072-970, Brazil
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Medicina 2019, 55(10), 685; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55100685
Received: 17 June 2019 / Revised: 1 October 2019 / Accepted: 9 October 2019 / Published: 14 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children with Complex Presentations)
Background and Objectives: Recent studies have shown the existence of a positive relationship between physical exercise, symptomatic improvement, and reduction of damage caused by comorbidities associated with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) in children, adolescents, and adults. The aim of this systematic review with meta-analysis (SRM) was to estimate the effects of physical exercise (PE) on the stereotyped behaviors of children with a diagnosis of ASD in intervention studies. Materials and Methods: The design followed the PRISMA guidelines and the TREND statement to assess the quality of information in each study. Nine non-randomized intervention trial studies with low, moderate, and vigorous physical exercise, with a duration varying from 8 to 48 weeks and a frequency of 3 times a week, were included in the SRM. The dependent variable episodes of stereotypical behaviors was analyzed in all studies and assessed as the number of episodes demonstrated by the child in pre- versus post-exercise intervention conditions. Results: The eight studies included a total 129 children (115 males and 14 females) with an average age of 8.93 ± 1.69 years. Children with ASD showed a reduction of 1.1 in the number of occurrences of stereotypical behaviors after intervention with physical exercise. Conclusion: Evidence was found to support physical exercise as an effective tool in reducing the number of episodes of stereotypical behaviors in children diagnosed with ASD. View Full-Text
Keywords: meta-analysis; physical exercise; intervention; stereotypes; autism meta-analysis; physical exercise; intervention; stereotypes; autism
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Ferreira, J.P.; Ghiarone, T.; Cabral Júnior, C.R.; Furtado, G.E.; Moreira Carvalho, H.; Machado-Rodrigues, A.M.; Andrade Toscano, C.V. Effects of Physical Exercise on the Stereotyped Behavior of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Medicina 2019, 55, 685.

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