Habitual physical activity in Dutch children and adolescents with haemophilia


Janjaap van der Net, PhD, Child Development and Exercise Center, University Children’s Hospital, UMC Utrecht, Suite KB02.056.0, PO Box 85090, 3508 AB Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Tel.: +31 88 755 4030; fax: +31 88 755 5333;
e-mail: j.vandernet@umcutrecht.nl


Summary.  For patients with haemophilia, a physically active lifestyle is important to maintain musculoskeletal health and to prevent chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease. Therefore, we studied physical activity levels, in Dutch children and adolescents with haemophilia as well as its association with aerobic fitness and joint health. Forty-seven boys with haemophilia (aged 8–18) participated. Physical activity was measured using the Modifiable Activity Questionnaire (MAQ) and was compared with the general population. Aerobic fitness was determined using peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak). Joint health was measured using the Haemophilia Joint Health Score (HJHS). Associations between physical activity, joint health and aerobic fitness were evaluated by correlation analysis. Subjects were 12.5 (SD 2.9) years old, had a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 19.5 (SD 3.1; z-score 0.5) and a median HJHS score of 0 (range 0–6). Cycling, physical education and swimming were most frequently reported (86%, 69% and 50% respectively). Children with severe haemophilia participated significantly less in competitive soccer and more in swimming than children with non-severe haemophilia. Physical activity levels were similar across haemophilia severities and comparable to the general population. VO2peak kg−1 was slightly lower than healthy boys (42.9 ± 8.6 vs. 46.9 ± 1.9 mL kg−1 min−1; = 0.03). Joint health, aerobic fitness and physical activity showed no correlation. Dutch children with haemophilia engaged in a wide range of activities of different intensities and showed comparable levels of physical activity to the general population. Aerobic fitness was well preserved and showed no associations with physical activity levels or joint health.