Open Access Open Badges Study protocol

Rationale and design of active play @ home: a parent-led physical activity program for children with and without disability

Daniela A Rubin1*, Kathleen S Wilson1, Lenny D Wiersma1, Jie W Weiss2 and Debra J Rose1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Kinesiology, California State University, 800 N. State College Blvd., KHS-138, Fullerton, CA 92834, USA

2 Department of Health Sciences, California State University, Fullerton, CA USA

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BMC Pediatrics 2014, 14:41  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-14-41

Published: 14 February 2014



Compared to other children, those with disability have additional challenges to being physically active. Prader-Willi Syndrome is a genetic form of childhood obesity that is characterized by hypotonia, growth hormone deficiency, behavioral, and cognitive disability. In children, the low prevalence of this syndrome (1 in 10,000 to 15,000 live births) makes group-based physical activity interventions difficult. In contrast, the home environment presents a natural venue to establish a physical activity routine for this population. This manuscript describes the design of a parent-led physical activity intervention incorporating playground and interactive console-based games to increase physical activity participation in youth with and without Prader-Willi Syndrome.


The study participants will be 115 youth ages 8-15 y (45 with the syndrome and 70 without the syndrome but categorized as obese). The study will use a parallel design with the control group receiving the intervention after serving as control. Participants will be expected to complete a physical activity curriculum 4 days a week for 6 months including playground games 2 days a week and interactive console games 2 days a week. Parents will be trained at baseline and then provided with a curriculum and equipment to guide their implementation of the program. Tips related to scheduling and coping with barriers to daily program implementation will be provided. Throughout, parents will be contacted by phone once a week (weeks 1-4) and then every other week to receive support in between visits. Measurements of children and parents will be obtained at baseline, 12 weeks, and at the end (week 24) of the intervention. Children main outcomes include physical activity (accelerometry), body composition (dual x-ray absorptiometry), motor proficiency (Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency), quality of life and physical activity self-efficacy (questionnaires). Intervention compliance will be monitored using mail-in daily self-report checklists.


This parent-guided physical activity intervention aims to increase physical activity by using a curriculum that builds physical activity related self-confidence through the development and/or enhancement of motor skill competency. Ultimately, helping children develop these skills as well as joy in being physically active will translate into sustained behavior change.

Trial registration

Current Controlled Trial: NCT02058342

Prader-Willi syndrome; Obesity; Childhood; Family; Interactive games; Playground games; Exercise routine