DSActive is a dedicated programme that’s run by the Down’s Syndrome Association. It aims to provide opportunities for people with Down’s syndrome to be active, healthy and play sport. It supports people with Down’s syndrome into impairment specific sport or mixed disability sport, as well as supporting coaches and people with Down’s syndrome to become coaches. The programme works with many different National Governing Bodies, National Disability Sporting Organisations, Activity Alliance and other organisations.
Why Does DSActive Exist?
DSActive was set up in awareness of the sedentary lifestyles that many children and adults with Down’s syndrome have, and the subsequent health problems associated with inactivity, including obesity. People with Down’s syndrome also have a range of health issues which can contribute to weight related conditions, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. Down’s syndrome is also associated with hypotonia and hypermobility, both of which can make it difficult to be physically active.
A recent research study found that of the people with Down’s syndrome included in the study:
- 44% were obese and 29% were overweight.
- This was compared with people who had a learning disability but did not have Down’s syndrome, where 26% were obese and 37% overweight respectively.
- The study also found that only 16% of adults with Down’s syndrome were meeting the physical activity recommendations set by the government.
Benefits of a DSActive Session
76% of parents/carers in a recent study have stated that their loved one was not very active before they started attending a DSActive session. Since joining these sessions:
- 27% had lost weight.
- 68% had improved fitness.
- In addition, 78% had improved physical ability.
- Over 91% had improved their social skills.
What Does DSActive Do?
The project works with over 80 sporting clubs to provide impairment specific sessions in many different sports. They also works with other organisations to provide mixed disability sporting sessions. In the last year, they have started working with the leisure and fitness industry to improve their service for people with Down’s syndrome. Additionally, they have launched a nutrition project to support people with Down’s syndrome to improve their nutrition and diet. Nutrition can be particularly challenging for people with Down’s syndrome, due to other health conditions they may have, the sensory nature of food, and the inaccessible nature of the information. DSActive have also launched a nutrition app specifically designed for people with Down’s syndrome and the way they process information most effectively.
The programme offers expert training in Down’s syndrome as well. This includes information on the condition, as well as myths & truths, terminology, learning profiles, behaviour and how best to adapt a session to suit the needs of someone with it. They also run their workshop as a CPD for many different National Governing Bodies.
DSActive also runs multiple tennis festivals in a variety of locations, where the focus is on participation and fun. They also run an annual National Festival for their football clubs, which is the biggest event in the country exclusively for people with Down’s syndrome.
This April, DSActive are taking part in our charity poll. While the programme is officially run by the Down’s Syndrome Association, the donation if won will go directly towards the DSActive project, helping those with Down’s syndrome stay healthy and active through sport. Cast your vote this April for DSActive, and if you would like to find out more about the programme, visit their website: https://www.dsactive.org.uk/.