Well-being, health and fitness of children who use wheelchairs: Feasibility study protocol to develop child-centred ‘keep-fit’ exercise interventions


Correspondence to T.D. O'Brien:

e-mail: thomas.obrien@bangor.ac.uk



To undertake the pre-clinical and modelling phases of the Medical Research Council complex intervention framework to underpin development of child-centred ‘keep-fit’, exercise and physical activity interventions for children and young people who use wheelchairs.


Children who use wheelchairs face many barriers to participation in physical activity, which compromises fitness, obesity, well-being and health. ‘Keep-fit’ programmes that are child-centred and engaging are urgently required to enhance participation of disabled children and their families as part of a healthy lifestyle. Nurses will likely be important in promoting and monitoring ‘keep-fit’ intervention(s) when implemented in the community.


Mixed-method (including economic analysis) feasibility study to capture child and family preferences and keep-fit needs and to determine outcome measures for a ‘keep-fit’ intervention.


The study comprises three stages. Stage 1 includes a mixed-method systematic review of effectiveness, cost effectiveness and key stakeholder views and experiences of keep-fit interventions, followed by qualitative interviews with children, young people and their parents to explore preferences and motivations for physical activity. Stage 2 will identify standardized outcome measures and test their application with children who use wheelchairs to obtain baseline fitness data. Options for an exercise-based keep-fit intervention will then be designed based on Stage 1 and 2 findings. In stage 3, we will present intervention options for feedback and further refinement to children and parents/carers in focus groups. (Project funded October 2012).


At completion, this study will lead to the design of the intervention and a protocol to test its efficacy.