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Commentary on “FitKids Exercise Therapy Program in the Netherlands”

O'Neil, Margaret E. PT, PhD, MPH; Fragala-Pinkham, Maria PT, DPT, MS

Author Information
Pediatric Physical Therapy: April 2013 - Volume 25 - Issue 1 - p 14
doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e318276caf9
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“How could I apply this information?”

The authors describe (1) demographics and medical diagnoses, (2) specific aerobic fitness exercise test results, and (3) initial fitness levels of children with chronic conditions or disabilities who were participating in FitKids, a national fitness program, offered in 105 centers across the Netherlands. The authors describe methods to gather demographic information and aerobic fitness levels, using 5 specific tests. The measurement protocols and outcomes can be used by clinicians to document aerobic fitness levels in patients. Maximal heart rate data from aerobic tests are useful for dosing interventions to increase exercise intensity and aerobic fitness. Using fitness measures pre- and postintervention may help determine outcome effectiveness of aerobic exercise programs.

“What should I be mindful about in applying this information?”

The authors discuss the importance of systematic measurement to record patient demographics and aerobic fitness levels. A FitKids manual and training sessions to instruct therapists were provided.

The authors discuss the problem of missing data in the FitKids database. The authors use data analysis that accounts for nonnormal distribution on demographic and fitness variables, which is important because skewed and missing data may bias outcomes. Also, the missing data may reflect a bias in the FitKids program enrollment and outcomes because kids who are “more fit” may be more motivated to participate.

The reader must be mindful that this article provides descriptive information but does not report measurement reliability to confirm that measures are valid to determine outcome effectiveness. Also, one of the program missions is to optimize quality of life; however, authors do not discuss how this outcome is measured.

Margaret E. O'Neil, PT, PhD, MPH

Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Maria Fragala-Pinkham, PT, DPT, MS

Franciscan Hospital for Children, Brighton, Massachusetts

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.