The effect of physical activity on children and youth diagnosed with ADHD: a review

Reeves, Matthew orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3903-2910 and Bailey, Richard Peter (2016) The effect of physical activity on children and youth diagnosed with ADHD: a review. Education 3-13, 44 (6). pp. 591-603. ISSN 0300-4279

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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common neurodevelopmental psychiatric disorder among children. Despite the noted positive aspects of the disorder, it is often associated with a range of negative outcomes for that are detrimental to children's education and wider well-being. This comprehensive scoping review examined empirical literature from seven academic journal databases and specialist journals, published over 10 years, in relation to the benefits of sport/physical activity upon the effects of ADHD. The databases and time frame were chosen to give the ‘ideal [scenario] … that could answer the review question’, within the limitations of journal database access and resource available; searches of grey literature were also conducted. Ten articles were included in the final review. Due to the variation of methodological approach, sample size, and, most importantly, the form of physical activity measured, it is difficult to identify the ‘best’ form of physical activity to mediate symptoms of ADHD. However, it can be plausibly claimed that physical activity interventions may provide an alternative, non-pharmaceutical approach to management of ADHD in children.

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