Effects of Tai Chi therapy on body mass index and physical index of intellectual disability

Nam Hyun Cha, Ga Eul Jeon, Youngmi Cho, Sohyune R. Sok

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Aim: Continuous program development and application are necessary in order to manage the health and address the problems of secondary metabolic disorders for people with intellectual disabilities. This study examines the effects of Tai Chi therapy on body mass index (BMI) and physical index among people with intellectual disabilities. Methods: A quasi-experimental study using a pretest-post-test control group, non-synchronized design was employed. Samples were in total 104 people with intellectual disabilities (experimental: n = 67, control: n = 37) in two facilities in South Korea. They were randomly allocated using a coin toss into the two groups. Tai Chi therapy as an experimental intervention was the Sun style Tai Chi exercise, which consists of the warm-up (5 min), main exercise (45 min), and finishing (meditation, 10 min). Tai Chi therapy was conducted twice a week for a total of 40 sessions for 5 months (1 hour each) by one professional instructor. Measures were general characteristics of study participants, BMI as degree of obesity, and physical index. Data were analyzed using the SPSS 21.0 program (descriptive statistics, χ2 test, independent t test). A P value of less than.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: There were statistically significant differences on fasting blood glucose (t = 4.351, P <.001) and high-density lipoprotein (t = −2.052, P =.043) in the physical index between the two groups. Conclusions: Tai Chi therapy was an effective intervention for decreasing fasting blood glucose and for increasing high-density lipoprotein in those with intellectual disabilities. Tai Chi therapy can be implied as a nursing intervention for intellectual disabilities in nursing practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12292
JournalJapan Journal of Nursing Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • BMI
  • Tai Chi therapy
  • intellectual disability
  • physical index


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