Youth with low physical activity and fitness levels and high body fat levels are more likely to develop additional risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as elevated blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels. Participation in daily physical activity can reduce body fat, encourage weight loss, and improve aerobic fitness in youth without disabilities. Recent research involving youth with cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, cystic fibrosis, asthma, diabetes, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and hemophilia suggest positive effects of exercise therapy upon the aerobic capacity, functional ability, and quality of life of children and adolescents with disabilities and chronic diseases. Strategies exist for introducing exercise as a lifelong intervention in pediatric populations with chronic diseases.
Department of Orthopedic Sports Medicine and Family Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Address for correspondence: Patrick J. Morris, M.D., Departments of Orthopedic Sports Medicine and Family Medicine, University of Minnesota, 420 Delaware St SE, MMC 381, Minneapolis, MN 55455-0341 (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).