Purpose: Low bone mineral density (BMD) is a common secondary condition associated with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). The purpose of this review was evaluate the literature pertinent to designing an effective, safe weight-bearing exercise program to reduce the risk of low BMD in children with JIA.
Summary of key points: Thirty-seven articles on the risk of low BMD and children with JIA, weight-bearing interventions to improve BMD in healthy children, or safety and efficacy of exercise interventions with children with JIA were critiqued on the basis of their design. Three highly rated studies confirmed the multifactorial nature of low BMD in children with JIA, two highly rated studies support the efficacy of weight-bearing interventions for increasing BMD in children who are healthy, and one moderately rated study demonstrated the safety of low impact exercise by children with JIA.
Statement of conclusions and recommendations for clinical practice: Weight-bearing activities should be included in exercise programs for individuals with JIA, although more research is needed to determine the amount, duration, and frequency of weight-bearing activity needed to reduce the risk for low BMD.