Objectives: Physical activity is an important part of children's health and social development. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) can lead to decreased physical activity and quality of life. This study characterised clinical aspects, physical activity rates, obesity, and screen time in a group of JIA patients.
Methods: Ninety-seven JIA patients in the Paediatric Rheumatology Clinic at Meir Medical Center were evaluated over a 6-month period and compared by statistical methods to 98 age-matched healthy controls. Information on disease activity, type and amount of physical activity (using the Modified Godin Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire), and daily screen time hours were collected.
Results: Among the JIA patients, 56% had oligoarthritis, 22% polyarthritis and 17% systemic disease. Disease activity among all JIA sub-groups was low (average of 1.7/10), two-thirds of patients had disease activity lower than 3, only 4% over 5, and 56% were in clinical remission. Obesity rates in the patient and control groups were 21.5% and 19.4%, respectively. Physical activity levels were similar in both groups. Age at onset of disease and physical activity rate were negatively correlated (r=-0.288, p=0.004). Total weekly leisure activity of the control group was higher (46.9 vs. 38.4 hours, respectively), while daily screen time was similar (3.2 vs. 2.9 hours, respectively).
Conclusions: Physical activity, obesity rates and screen time hours were similar between JIA patients and controls. This lack of difference could be attributed to clinical remission following early, aggressive, treat-to-target therapy.