To compare physical activity (PA) in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) with controls and to analyse the effect of disease specific factors on PA in children with JIA treated according to current treatment regimes.
PA was measured with a 7-day activity diary and expressed as physical activity level (PAL). Moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) (hours/day) and sedentary time (hours/day) was determined. In children with JIA, medication, the number of swollen and/or painful joints, disease activity, functional ability, pain and well-being was determined. Multivariate regression analysis was performed to analyze differences in PA between JIA and controls, adjusted for influences of age, gender, season, Body Mass Index (BMI) and to analyze predictors of PA in JIA patients.
Seventy-six children with JIA (26 boys and 50 girls, mean ± SD age 10.0 ± 1.4 years) and 131 controls (49 boys and 82 girls, mean ± SD age 10.4 ± 1.2 years) participated in this study. Children with JIA had a significantly lower PAL (0.10, p = 0.01) corrected for age, BMI, gender and season. They spent less time in MVPA (0.41 h/day, p = 0.06) and had a significantly higher mean time spent in sedentary activities (0.59 h/day, p 0.02) compared to controls. The activity level of children with JIA was related to age, gender, season, feeling of well-being and pain.
Children with JIA have a lower PAL, spent less time in MVPA and spent more time on sedentary activities compared to controls despite current medical treatment and PA encouragement.
Data of the children with JIA are from the Rheumates@work study ISRCTN92733069 .