and adolescents with special health care needs have been
defined as those "who have or are at increased risk for chronic
physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional conditions
require health and related services of a type or amount beyond
that required by children generally."1
18 percent of children and adolescents in the United States
have a chronic condition or disability.2 The
most common causes are respiratory diseases and mental impairments.
Disabilities are most prevalent among boys, older children,
and children from families with low incomes and from single-parent
Disability in children and adolescents results in approximately 66 million
days of restricted activity annually, 26 million physician contacts,
24 million days lost from school, and 5 million days in the hospital.3
and adolescent mortality resulting from chronic conditions
and disabilities is declining; therefore, the population of adults
with a chronic condition or disability will continue to increase.
In general, cardiovascular disease risk factors are appearing much
earlier in children and adolescents, physical fitness in children
and adolescents is steadily decreasing, and the prevalence of childhood
and adolescent obesity is increasing. In children and adolescents
with special health care needs, a sedentary lifestyle is associated
with an increased risk of morbidity. Preventive strategies are
needed to help these children and adolescents increase their
levels, which will help increase the length and improve the quality
of their lives.
Children and adolescents
with special health care needs benefit from regular physical
activity. It can make the tasks of daily living easier for
them, improve their health status, and ultimately reduce
morbidity from secondary conditions during adulthood.
for children and adolescents with special health care needs