OBJECTIVES: To compare the physical activity levels of children with and without asthma and evaluate predictors of activity level in children with asthma. METHODS: Parents of 137 children with asthma and 106 controls 6 to 12 years old who attended an urban primary care pediatric clinic were interviewed by telephone. A structured survey evaluated 1 day's total activity and the number of days active in a typical week; asthma characteristics and treatment; physician advice; opportunities for physical activity; and caregiver beliefs about physical activity. The activity levels of children with and without asthma were compared. Predictors of activity level of children with asthma were evaluated. RESULTS: Children with asthma were less active than their peers. The mean amount of daily activity differed by group: 116 (asthma) vs 146 (nonasthma) minutes; 21% (asthma) vs 9% (nonasthma) were active <30 minutes/day; and 23% (asthma) vs 11% (nonasthma) were active <3 days/week. Among children with asthma, disease severity and parental beliefs regarding exercise and asthma predicted activity level. Children with moderate or severe persistent asthma were more likely to be active <30 minutes/day (odds ratio: 3.0; confidence interval: 1.2-7.5), and children whose parents believed exercise could improve asthma were more likely to be highly active > or = 120 minutes/day (odds ratio: 2.5; confidence interval: 1.2-5.4). CONCLUSIONS: Disease severity and parental health beliefs contribute to the lower activity level of children with asthma. Pediatricians should evaluate exercise level as an indicator of disease control and address exercise and its benefits with patients and caregivers to help achieve the goal of normal physical activity in children with asthma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health