Research Study Abstract

Specific Sports Habits, Leisure‐Time Physical Activity, and School‐Educational Physical Activity in Children With Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: Patterns and Barriers

  • Published on Oct. 24, 2018

Objective: Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) may cause functional impairment and reduced time engaged in physical activity. The aim of this study was to investigate the habits of patients with JIA regarding participation in club sports, leisure‐time physical activity, and school‐educational physical activity and relate this to objectively measured physical activity using accelerometry and to compare the findings with those in healthy controls.

Methods: Consecutive patients from the Aarhus University Hospital outpatient clinic were included. Clinical characteristics, functional ability, and exploration of specific habits in club sports, leisure‐time physical activity, and school‐educational physical activity (based on a standardized questionnaire) in patients were recorded and compared with those in healthy controls. The intensity and frequency of physical activity were measured by accelerometer monitoring, using ActiGraph GT1M.

Results: Sixty‐eight patients with JIA and 118 healthy control subjects were included. Despite having low disease activity, children with JIA had significantly lower accelerometry‐monitored physical activity levels compared with healthy controls. The distribution of specific club sport activities was the same among patients and controls. However, the proportion of patients spending >3 hours/week participating in club sports was significantly lower than the proportion of controls, whereas no difference in time spent engaging in physical activity during leisure‐time was observed. Participation in compulsory school‐educational physical activity was equally high in patients and controls, although participation by patients was significantly less consistent than that by controls. Patient reports of time spent with club sport and leisure‐time physical activity was significantly related to accelerometry measures, whereas this was not observed for school‐educational physical activity.

Conclusion: The results of this study indicate the need for structured guidance for all patients with JIA (including those with minimal disease activity) in both understanding and coping with the consequences of a low level of physical activity.


  • Mette Nørgaard 1
  • Troels Herlin 1


  • 1

    Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark


Arthritis Care & Research


, ,