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Abstract

Objective

To study patient-reported physical activity in patients with spondylarthritis (SpA) and possible differences in physical activity patterns between the SpA subtypes and sexes.

Methods

In 2009, a questionnaire including inquiries concerning physical activity was sent to patients with a SpA diagnosis (n = 3,711). The World Health Organization (WHO) global recommendations of physical activity for health requiring 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (MI-PA) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity (VI-PA) per week were used as recommended levels. Standardized risk ratios (RRs) were calculated by using physical activity data from the Swedish population. The association within the SpA group between sex, age, disease-related variables, anxiety, and depression and meeting recommended levels of MI-PA and VI-PA (dependent variables) was studied with multivariate analysis.

Results

A total of 2,167 patients with SpA (48% men, mean ± SD age 55 ± 14 years) responded to the questionnaire. Sixty-eight percent of the patients met the WHO recommendations, more frequently in women than in men (70% versus 66%). The recommendations were more often met in the SpA group (RR 1.09, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.04–1.15) compared with the Swedish population. There was a tendency for young women to meet the WHO recommendations less often than the Swedish population (RR 0.94, 95% CI 0.63–1.25). Different factors were found to influence whether the patients were exercising with a moderate or vigorous intensity.

Conclusion

Seven of 10 patients with SpA met the WHO recommendations of physical activity for health, but we found sex and disease subtype differences. This information can be useful in clinical practice when coaching patients to have a healthier lifestyle.