Self-Reported Physical Activity and Exercise Patterns in Children With Sickle Cell Disease

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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Sickle cell disease (SCD) significantly affects physical functioning. We examined physical activity (PA) patterns in children with SCD versus a national sample and factors associated with PA and participation in physical education and organized sports.


One hundred children with SCD completed a 58-item survey with questions from the 2009–2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) Physical Activity Questionnaire and others on physical education and sports, disease impact, and physical functioning.


Compared with NHANES participants, more children with SCD (67 vs 42%, p < .01) reported doing at least 10 min of moderate-to-vigorous intensity PA (MVPA)/week. Children with SCD also reported spending more days in MVPA (2.3 vs. 1.4 days/week, p < .01). However, fewer reported spending ³ 60 min/day in either vigorous PA (VPA) (24 vs. 43%, p = .01) or MVPA (17 vs 23%, p < .01). In addition, 90% and 48% of children with SCD participated in physical education and sports, respectively. Greater disease impact on PA and physical functioning were associated with lower participation.


Children with SCD are active at moderate to vigorous intensity for shorter durations. Negative personal beliefs about disease impact and poor physical functioning represent barriers to PA in SCD.

Omwanghe, Muntz, Montgomery, Thompson, and Liem are with the Dept. of Pediatrics, Hematology, Oncology & Stem Cell Transplant, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL. Kwon is with the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL. Kemiki and Hsu are with the Dept. of Pediatrics, Hematology/Oncology, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Address author correspondence to Robert I. Liem at