Background: Evidence regarding habitual physical activity levels and aerobic fitness of asthmatic compared to nonasthmatic children and adolescents is contradictory, and it is unclear if low physical activity levels can contribute to asthma development. The present study therefore aimed to determine whether adolescents with asthma have reduced physical activity levels and aerobic fitness, or increased energy intake and body fat compared to controls.
Methods: From the environment and childhood asthma study in Oslo, 174 (13- to 14-year old) adolescents, 95 (66 boys) with and 79 (41 boys) without asthma performed maximal running on a treadmill with oxygen consumption measurement (aerobic fitness) and had the sum of four skinfolds and waist circumference recorded (body fat), followed by wearing an activity monitor and registering diet for four consecutive days. Asthma was defined by at least two of the following three criteria fulfilled: (1) dyspnoea, chest tightness and/or wheezing; (2) a doctor's diagnosis of asthma; (3) use of asthma medication. Participants with asthma used their regular medications.
Results: Neither aerobic fitness, total energy expenditure nor hours in moderate to very vigorous intensity physical activity during week and weekend differed between adolescents with and without asthma. Energy intake and body fat was similar in both groups.
Conclusions: Total energy expenditure, aerobic fitness and hours in moderate to very vigorous intensity physical activity were not reduced and energy intake and body fat measured with skinfolds not increased among Norwegian adolescents with asthma.