Pike KC, Griffiths LJ, Dezateux C, Pearce A

Pediatric Pulmonology (2019) 54:962-969

Background: Although beneficial for health and well-being, most children do not achieve recommended levels of physical activity. Evidence for children with asthma is mixed, with symptom severity rarely considered. This paper aimed to address this gap.

Methods: We analyzed cross‐sectional associations between physical activity and parent‐reported asthma symptoms and severity for 6497 UK Millennium Cohort Study 7−year‐old participants (3321, [49%] girls). Primary outcomes were daily moderate‐to‐vigorous physical activity (MVPA, minutes) and proportion of children achieving recommended minimum daily levels of 60 minutes of MVPA. Daily steps, sedentary time, and total activity counts per minute (cpm) were recorded, as were parent‐reported asthma symptoms, medications, and recent hospital admissions. Associations were investigated using quantile (continuous outcomes) and Poisson (binary outcomes) regression, adjusting for demographic, socioeconomic, health, and environmental factors.

Results: Neither asthma status nor severity was associated with MVPA; children recently hospitalized for asthma were less likely to achieve recommended daily MVPA (risk ratio [95% confidence interval [CI]]: 0.67 [0.44, 1.03]). Recent wheeze, current asthma, and severe asthma symptoms were associated with fewer sedentary hours (difference in medians [95% CI]: −0.18 [−0.27, −0.08]; −0.14 [−0.24, −0.05]; −0.15, [−0.28, −0.02], respectively) and hospital admission with lower total activity (−48 cpm [−68, −28]).

Conclusion: Children with asthma are as physically active as their asthma‐free counterparts, while those recently hospitalized for asthma are less active. Qualitative studies are needed to understand the perceptions of children and families about physical activity following hospital admission and to inform support and advice needed to maintain active lifestyles for children with asthma.