Interventions for Health Promotion and Obesity Prevention for Children and Adolescents with Developmental Disabilities: a Systematic Review

Document Type


Publication Date



Social Work


This systematic review evaluated interventions and relevant outcomes for health promotion and obesity prevention among children and adolescents with developmental disabilities (DD). Twenty-one studies including randomized control trials (n= 9) and quasi-experimental studies (n=12) published between 2010 and 2021 met inclusion criteria related to participant characteristics, intervention type, and child obesity-related outcomes. Five types of intervention programs were identified: aerobic and strength training, sport-based physical activity, aquatic exercise, active video gaming, and diet and lifestyle. Whereas analysis of intervention outcomes, efficacy, and study rigor showed mixed results and weak evidence of effective interventions, this review identified gaps in the literature, promising strategies for addressing obesity in children with DD, and implications for practice and future research.


© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2022, Springer Nature or its licensor holds exclusive rights to this article under a publishing agreement with the author(s) or other rightsholder(s); author self-archiving of the accepted manuscript version of this article is solely governed by the terms of such publishing agreement and applicable law.