A pedometer based physical activity self-management program for children and adolescents with physical disability - design and methods of the StepUp study

Carol Maher, Angela Crettenden, Kerry Evans, Myra Thiessen, Monica Toohey, Jim Dollman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Physical activity affords a wide range of physiological and psychological benefits for children and adolescents, yet many children with physical disabilities are insufficiently active to achieve these benefits. The StepUp program is a newly developed 6-week pedometer-based self-management program for children and adolescents with physical disability. Participants use a pedometer to undertake a 6-week physical activity challenge, with personalised daily step count goals set in consultation with a physiotherapist. The study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of the StepUp program, using a randomised control trial design.

Methods/design: A target sample of 70 young people with physical disabilities (aged 8-17 years, ambulant with or without aid, residing in Adelaide) will be recruited. Participants will be randomly allocated to either intervention or control following completion of baseline assessments. Assessments are repeated at 8 weeks (immediately post intervention) and 20 weeks (12 weeks post intervention). The primary outcome is objective physical activity determined from 7 day accelerometry, and the secondary outcomes are exercise intention, physical self-worth, quality of life and fatigue. Analyses will be undertaken on an intention-to-treat basis using random effects mixed modelling.

Discussion: This study will provide information about the potential of a low-touch and low-cost physical activity intervention for children and adolescents with cerebral palsy.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalBMC Pediatrics
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Disability
  • Intervention
  • Physical activity

Cite this