Physical fitness in children with haemophilia and the effect of overweight
Although children with haemophilia are advised to participate in physical activities, their physical fitness has not been studied in a large group. In addition, children with haemophilia may be at increased risk for becoming overweight as a result of inactivity because of joint bleedings or because of overprotection. This study aimed to assess physical fitness (aerobic capacity), joint status, muscle strength, quality of life (QoL), self-reported motor competence and also prevalence of overweight and its association with physical parameters. Weight and height were measured. Skin folds were measured unilaterally at biceps, triceps, subscapular and supra-iliac sites. Aerobic capacity was determined on a cycle ergometer or with a 6-min walk test (6MWT). Muscle strength and active range of motion of elbows, knees and ankle joints were measured. Self-reported motor competence was measured with the 'Competentie BelevingsSchaal voor Kinderen'. Joint pain was scored on a Visual Analogue Scale. The Haemo-QoL Index was used to measure QoL. In 158 Dutch boys with haemophilia, with a mean age of 12.7 years (SD 2.9), normal aerobic capacity and muscle strength were found. Joint pain was reported by 16% of the participants. The prevalence of overweight (16%) was slightly increased when compared with healthy Dutch boys (13.5%). Being overweight had a negative association with the 6 MWT and QoL. Dutch children with haemophilia have normal aerobic exercise capacity and muscle strength. The majority also has normal joint mobility. Prevalence of overweight is slightly increased.