Background Mounting evidence suggests a dose-dependent beneficial effect of physical activity (PA) on physical, mental and social well-being, all together defined as health, for both persons with and without disease. To our knowledge, no PA estimates for patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) are available in Flanders. In addition, no study compared PA across different rheumatic phenotypes. Inspired by the need of its members for tailored PA intervention programs, ReumaNet, the organisation of patients with RMDs in Flanders, has taken the initiative to start a research project on PA in close collaboration with our university centre.
Materials en methods Development of a PA survey.
A web-based questionnaire concerning PA in patients with RMDs is being developed and validated in a joint effort of patient researchers and health professionals from our department.
A first draft questionnaire was constructed based on a literature review and discussions with experts in the field. The content of this draft questionnaire was optimized after discussions in three consecutive focus groups, each consisting of a small group of expert patients. To further detect problematic survey items, several individual interviews are now being performed to explore the cognitive processes that responders go through to answer the survey questions.
Main outcomes that will be assessed are: general, anthropometrical and demographical data, disease activity, use of medication, disease related quality of life, depression, anxiety, perceived barriers, exercise coping, social support, fatigue, pain, self-reported physical activity, current exercise behaviour, exercise preferences, self-efficacy for PA and motivational regulation.
Patient recruitment: Patients will be recruited under the supervision of ReumaNet via their respective patient organization or rheumatologist. The main inclusion criteria for this web-based survey are having a self-reported doctor-diagnosed rheumatic disease and speaking Dutch. An invitation letter will contain two access codes for the online survey, for the patient and a healthy volunteer respectively. Participants will not receive financial compensation for their participation, but will possibly win one of the two movement-related game consoles. This survey will be the start of biennial PA monitoring in patients with RMDs in Flanders.
Research agenda: The aims of this research project are:
(A) to establish a biennial PA monitoring for patients with RMDs in Flanders
(B) to determine the proportion meeting the arthritis-specific and general PA recommendations in Flanders
(C) to compare PA across different rheumatic phenotypes
(D) to compare PA between patients with RMDs and healthy controls
(E) to appreciate the different types of PA patients with RMDs currently perform
(F) to explore which types of PA patients with RMDs prefer.
Conclusions This research project, commissioned by the patient organization ReumaNet, will provide a good estimate of PA needs in patients with RMDs in Flanders.
As an example of patient participation in scientific research, this project will enable ReumaNet to play a steering role in future health policy developments and the implementation of patient-centered PA interventions.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared