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Keywords:

  • children;
  • fitness;
  • haemophilia;
  • quality of life;
  • strength

Summary.  Prior to the introduction of prophylactic clotting factor, children with haemophilia were discouraged from physical activity due to the risk of bleeds. Reports of children with haemophilia having lower levels of fitness and strength than their healthy peers were therefore well accepted. This study aimed to establish whether these deficits continued, and specifically, whether Australian boys with haemophilia and von Willebrand disorder had lower strength and aerobic capacity than their peers, despite widespread use of prophylaxis. Forty-four boys aged 6.1–17.0 years (mean 10.9, SD 3.2) with haemophilia A and B and von Willebrand disorder participated in the study. Fitness, strength and body mass index (BMI) measures were compared with age- and gender-matched data from a representative cohort of school children. Quality of Life was measured using the Haemo-QoL to obtain baseline measures in an Australian population. There were no statistically significant or clinically important differences in aerobic fitness or BMI between the boys with haemophilia and controls in any age category. Boys with haemophilia in Years 4, 6 and 10 had greater strength than their peers. Australian boys with bleeding disorders do not have impaired aerobic capacity or strength compared with their peers. Quality of life in Australian boys with haemophilia is comparable to their European counterparts.