Aim: To examine if children younger than 7 years with type 1 diabetes are less physically active and spend more time sedentary than healthy children.
Methods: Using a repeated measures case-control study design, physical activity (PA) was measured by continuous combined accelerometer and heart rate registration for 7 days at two time points during 1 year (autumn and spring). PA data were expressed as time spent sedentary, in moderate and vigorous intensity PA and total PA. Differences between groups and gender were analysed with mixed linear regression models. In this study there were 24 children (12 girls) with type 1 diabetes mellitus and 26 (14 girls) healthy controls, all younger than 7 years at inclusion.
Results: Children with diabetes were less active overall (p = 0.010) and spent 16 min less in moderate-to-vigorous PA (p = 0.006). The difference in sedentary time (21 min less) between groups was not significant (p = 0.21). Overall PA (12.1 counts/min per day, p = 0.004) and time in moderate and vigorous PA (16.0 min/day, p = 0.002) was significantly higher in boys than in girls. A significant effect of age was observed.
Conclusion: Physical activity is significantly reduced in young children with type 1 diabetes.