Physical activity and sedentary behaviour in children with spina bifida

Everett A. Claridge, Manon A.T. Bloemen, Rosanne A. Rook, Joyce Obeid, Brian W. Timmons, Tim Takken, Rita J.G. Van Den Berg-Emons, Janke F. De Groot, Jan Willem Gorter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To describe active and sedentary time in children with spina bifida and to compare their physical activity on weekdays versus weekends. Method: In this exploratory cross-sectional study, data from 13 Canadian and 22 Dutch children with spina bifida (14 females, 21 males; mean age 10y 11mo, standard deviation [SD] 3y 6mo, range 5y 6mo–18y; Hoffer classification distribution: community [n=28], household [n=3], non-functional [n=3], and non-ambulator [n=1]) were analysed. Objective measures of physical activity and sedentary behaviour were obtained by using ActiGraph or Actiheart activity monitors. Data for the participants wearing the ActiGraph were compared with age- and sex-matched controls that were developing typically using independent-samples t-tests. Activity data collected on weekdays was compared to those on weekends. Results: ActiGraph data demonstrated children with spina bifida spent more time sedentary (mean [SD] 49.5min/h [5.78]) and less time in moderate to vigorous physical activity (mean [SD] 2.33min/h [1.61]) compared with the typically developing group (mean [SD] 41.0min/h [5.76] and 5.46min/h [2.13], p=0.001 and p<0.001 respectively). For both ActiGraph- and Actiheart-derived data, physical activity and sedentary time were not significantly different between weekdays and weekends. Interpretation: Children with spina bifida have reduced levels of physical activity and increased sedentary behaviour, with no statistical differences seen between weekdays and weekends. Several methodological issues related to activity monitoring warrant consideration when choosing the appropriate method to quantify physical activity and sedentary behaviour. What this paper adds: Reduced levels of physical activity and sedentary time were quantified in children with spina bifida. Objective quantification of physical behaviour in ambulatory and non-ambulatory school-aged children with spina bifida is possible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1400-1407
Number of pages8
JournalDevelopmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

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© 2019 Mac Keith Press


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