European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 169, Issue 10, pp 1187–1193 | Cite as

Reduced physical activity level and cardiorespiratory fitness in children with chronic diseases

  • Albane B. R. MaggioEmail author
  • Michaël F. Hofer
  • Xavier E. Martin
  • Laetitia M. Marchand
  • Maurice Beghetti
  • Nathalie J. Farpour-Lambert
Original Paper


We aimed to compare physical activity level and cardiorespiratory fitness in children with different chronic diseases, such as type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM), obesity (OB) and juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), with healthy controls (HC). We performed a cross-sectional study including 209 children: OB: n = 45, T1DM: n = 48, JIA: n = 31, and HC: n = 85. Physical activity level was assessed by accelerometer and cardiorespiratory fitness by a treadmill test. ANOVA, linear regressions and Pearson correlations were used. Children with chronic diseases had reduced total daily physical activity counts (T1DM 497 ± 54 cpm, p = 0.003; JIA 518 ± 28, p < 0.001, OB 590 ± 25, p = 0.003) and cardiorespiratory fitness (JIA 39.3 ± 1.7, p = 0.001, OB 41.7 ± 1.2, p = 0.020) compared to HC (668 ± 35 cpm; 45.3 ± 0.9 ml kg−1 min−1, respectively). Only 60.4% of HC, 51.6% of OB, 38.1% of JIA and 38.5% of T1DM children met the recommended daily 60 min of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Low cardiorespiratory fitness was associated with female gender and low daily PA. Conclusion: Children with chronic diseases had reduced physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness. As the benefits of PA on health have been well demonstrated during growth, it should be encouraged in those children to prevent a reduction of cardiorespiratory fitness and the development of comorbidities.


Cardiorespiratory fitness Juvenile idiopathic arthritis Obesity Physical activity Type 1 diabetes mellitus Children 



We thank the subjects for volunteering for the study, Didier Hans, Giulio Conicella, Jean-Michel Dubuis, Valérie Schwitzgebel and the staff of the paediatric policlinic for their assistance. This study was supported financially by the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Geneva University Hospital Research and Development Fund, the Mimosa Fund of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, and the Warnery Foundation.

Conflict of interest

None declared.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Albane B. R. Maggio
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michaël F. Hofer
    • 2
    • 3
  • Xavier E. Martin
    • 1
  • Laetitia M. Marchand
    • 1
  • Maurice Beghetti
    • 1
  • Nathalie J. Farpour-Lambert
    • 1
  1. 1.Paediatric Cardiology Unit, Department of Child and AdolescentUniversity Hospitals of GenevaGeneva 14Switzerland
  2. 2.Multisite Centre for Paediatric RheumatologyUniversity Hospitals of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  3. 3.Multisite Centre for Paediatric RheumatologyUniversity Hospitals of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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