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Physical Activity and Motor Function in Children and Adolescents With Neuromuscular Disorders

Holtebekk, M. Elizabeth PT, MHSc; Berntsen, Sveinung MCEP, PhD; Rasmussen, Magnhild MD, PhD; Jahnsen, Reidun B. PT, PhD

doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e3182a635f0
Research Article

Purpose: To determine physical function and activity level in children and adolescents with neuromuscular disorders.

Methods: Seventeen children and adolescents aged 10 to 18 years with neuromuscular disorders who were ambulatory participated. Physical function was measured using the Hammersmith Motor Ability Scale and the Six-Minute Walk Test. Physical activity (PA) level was measured using the SenseWear Armband activity monitor. Activities were recorded using a questionnaire. Results were compared with previous data published for peers who are healthy and public recommendations.

Results: Hammersmith Motor Ability Scale scores were lower than normal values. Results of the Six-Minute Walk Test were considerably lower than results for peers who are healthy. Time in PA and the number of steps were considerably lower on holidays and slightly lower on weekdays compared with the values for peers who are healthy. No vigorous activity was registered.

Conclusions: The participants had lower physical function and PA levels than peers who are healthy. The small, heterogeneous sample makes generalizations challenging and multicenter studies are recommended.

The children and adolescents with neuromuscular disorders in this study had lower physical function and physical activity levels than peers who were healthy. The small sample makes generalizations difficult, and the authors recommend multicenter studies.

Department of Child Neurology (Ms Holtebekk and Drs Rasmussen and Jahnsen), Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway; Department of Public Health (Dr Berntsen), Sport and Nutrition, Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway.

Correspondence: M. Elizabeth Holtebekk, PT, MHSc, Section for Child Neurology, Department of Child Neurology, Rikshospitalet, PO Box 4950, N-0424 Oslo, Norway (

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Grant support: The work was supported in part by the Norwegian Physiotherapy Association.

© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins and the Section on Pediatrics of the American Physical Therapy Association.