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Front. Public Health | doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2018.00047

Effects of a physical exercise program (PEP-Aut) on children´s with autism stereotyped behaviour metabolic and physical activity profiles, physical fitness and health related quality of life: Study protocol

  • 1University of Coimbra, Portugal
  • 2Federal University of Alagoas, Brazil
  • 3Polythecnic Institute of Viseu, Portugal
  • 4State University of Pernanbuco, Brazil
  • 5Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil

Physical exercise has shown positive effects on symptomatology and on the reduction of comorbidities in populations with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, there is still no consensus about the most appropriate exercise intervention model for children with ASD. The Physical Exercise Program-Autism (PEP-Aut) protocol is designed to allow us to: i) examine the multivariate associations between ASD symptoms, metabolic profile, physical activity level, physical fitness and health related quality of life of children with ASD; ii) assess the effects of a 40 weeks exercise program on all these aspects of children with ASD. The impact of the exercise program will be assessed based on a sequence of the two phases. Phase 1 is a 12 weeks cross sectional study assessing the symptomatology, metabolic profile, physical fitness and physical activity levels, socioeconomic status profile, and health-related quality of life of participants. This phase is the baseline of the following phase. Phase 2 is a 48 weeks intervention study with a 40 weeks intervention with exercise that will take place in a specialized centre for children with ASD in the city of Maceió-Alagoas, Brazil. The primary outcomes will be change in the symptomatic profile and the level of physical activity of children. Secondary outcomes will be anthropometric and metabolic profiles, aerobic function, grip strength, socioeconomic status, and health-related quality of life. The study will provide critical information on the efficacy of exercise for children with ASD and help guide design and delivery of future programs.

Keywords: Exercise, Intervention Studies, ASD autism spectrum disorders, stereotypes, Quality of Life, biomarkers.

Received: 24 Apr 2017; Accepted: 07 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Dan J. Graham, Colorado State University, United States

Reviewed by:

Aldair J. Oliveira, Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Meir Lotan, Ariel University, Israel  

Copyright: © 2018 Ferreira, Toscano, Rodrigues, Furtado, Barros, Wanderley and Carvalho. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: PhD. José P. Ferreira, University of Coimbra, Estádio Universitário de Coimbra, Pavilhão III, Guarda Inglesa, Coimbra, 3040-156, Coimbra, Portugal,