Multidisciplinary Network ActiveOncoKids guidelines for providing movement and exercise in pediatric oncology: Consensus-based recommendations

Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2022 Nov;69(11):e29953. doi: 10.1002/pbc.29953. Epub 2022 Sep 8.


Background: Pediatric cancer leads to reduced participation in exercise and only few patients comply with national physical activity recommendations. Physically inactive behavior hinders motor development and increases physical and psychological adverse effects of therapy and incidence of sequelae. Currently, there is neither nationwide coverage nor uniform level of knowledge regarding exercise promotion. The objective of the guideline is to facilitate qualified exercise interventions through standardized procedures in addition to regular physiotherapy and overall avoid physical inactivity in pediatric cancer patients.

Methods: This guideline addresses the multidisciplinary treatment team and informs physiotherapists and decision-makers in tertiary care hospitals and health insurance companies. The requirements of the Association of the Scientific Medical Societies in Germany were followed. Contents were based on best practice experience of experts, patient advocates, as well as on scientific evidence.

Results: The guideline includes 11 recommendations. Recommendations 1-4 declare the relevance of implementing exercise interventions and address general framework conditions. Recommendations 5-11 focus on the design of exercise programs, prevention and safety issues, relative contraindications for specific training loads, and options to overcome barriers to exercise.

Conclusion: This guideline summarizes existing and established structures and evidence in the context of movement and exercise in pediatric oncology. It takes into consideration the rights, varying needs, and characteristics of children and adolescents as well as national and international experience in this field. In the future, relevant research gaps need to be addressed by high-quality intervention studies to provide the scientific background for a stronger evidence-based guideline.

Keywords: health behavior; health promotion; implementation; physical activity; recommendations.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Consensus
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Medical Oncology*
  • Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Sedentary Behavior