The Impact of Physical Activity Restrictions on Health-Related Fitness in Children with Congenital Heart Disease

Children with congenital heart disease (CHD) are often restricted from some types of physical activity (PA) despite the lack of evidence regarding the need to restrict recreational PA, apart from those with rhythm disorders. This study retrospectively investigated the associations between parent-reported activity restrictions (on-going need to restrict exertion, body contact or competition) and measures of health-related fitness among 236 children (8.2 ± 2.1 years, range 4–12 years) treated for single ventricle (n = 104), tetralogy of Fallot (n = 48), transposition of the great arteries (n = 47) or atrial septal defect (n = 37). Body mass index (BMI), moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA; 7 day accelerometry), strength, flexibility, and movement skill assessment results were collected from the baseline assessment research records for two studies completed in Ontario, Canada. A subset of 62 children also had physician-reported activity restrictions. Regression models empirically tested the goodness of fit between the dependent and independent variables. Participants with body contact restrictions from both parents and physicians had significantly higher BMI z-scores (0.23 ± 1.19 vs. −0.32 ± 0.85; t = 2.55; p = 0.04 and 0.66 ± 1.33 vs. −0.02 ± 0.98; t = 2.25; p = 0.02 for CDC and WHO scores, respectively).

Lead Researchers

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  1. Patricia Longmuir

    Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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