Move more - be happier? physical activity and health-related quality of life in children with congenital heart disease

Am Heart J. 2021 Nov;241:68-73. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2021.07.004. Epub 2021 Jul 18.


Objective: This cross-sectional study aimed to determine whether there is an association between objectively assessed physical activity (PA) and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in children with CHD.

Patients and methods: From September 2017 to January 2021, 343 children with CHD (12.1 ± 3.3 years, 135 girls) provided valid PA data after a 7-day objective PA assessment. PA was evaluated as average daily steps and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) minutes assessed via wearable bracelet Garmin vivofit Jr. These children also completed the KINDL - a 24 Likert-scaled item questionnaires assessing HRQoL in the six dimensions physical well-being, emotional well-being, self-esteem, family, friends and everyday functioning.

Results: Daily Steps (r = 0.166, P = .003) and daily MVPA minutes (r = 0.134, P = .017,) were both correlated to total KINDL score. Furthermore, both steps and MVPA were associated with the subscales physical well-being (steps: r = 0.165 p=.003; MVPA: r = 0.129, P = .022), friends (steps: r = 0.210, P < .001, MVPA: r = 0.179, P = .001), steps, and to everyday functioning (r = 0.142, P = .012). Logistic regression showed each MVPA minute increase conferred to a 1% increase in reporting better HRQoL (OR: 1.009 [95% CI: 1.002 - 1.017], P = .019).

Conclusions: PA was positively associated with HRQoL in children with CHD. Patients who move more are more likely to report better HRQoL. While the magnitude of this association needs to be further understood, continuous encouragement towards more PA seems to be crucial in a holistic approach to medical aftercare in children with CHD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / physiology
  • Child Health*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise* / physiology
  • Exercise* / psychology
  • Female
  • Functional Status
  • Heart Defects, Congenital* / physiopathology
  • Heart Defects, Congenital* / psychology
  • Holistic Health
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Physical Functional Performance*
  • Quality of Life*