Physical activity during treatment in children with leukemia: a pilot study

Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2006 Aug;31(4):407-13. doi: 10.1139/h06-014.


The purpose of this pilot study was to measure physical activity (PA) levels in children undergoing treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and to compare the results with those from age-matched healthy children. We used the MTI Actigraph accelerometer to determine PA (during a 1 week period) in children (n = 7; age = 4-7 y) undergoing maintenance treatment for ALL and in age-matched controls (n = 7). The number of children accumulating at least 60 min of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) for 5 or more days of the week was 3 for the control group, whereas no children with ALL met this criterion. Significantly lower levels of total weekly time of MVPA were seen in children being treated for ALL (328 +/- 107 min) than in controls (506 +/- 175 min) (p < 0.05). When weekday data was analyzed, the ALL patients also had significantly lower mean daily times of MVPA (49 +/- 23 min vs. 79 +/- 25 min). It is thus important that young ALL sufferers are encouraged to participate in appropriate sports, games, and physical activities both in the family and school environments that will prime them with positive attitudes to PA during the critical early years of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mercaptopurine / administration & dosage
  • Methotrexate / administration & dosage
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / physiopathology
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / therapy*
  • Time Factors


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Mercaptopurine
  • Methotrexate