Background Knowledge is sparse regarding facilitators and barriers for participation in physical activity (PA) in patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and whether they differ from controls. Furthermore, knowledge about preferences for leisure time physical activities and participation in physical education (PE) in school in JIA patients is limited.
Objectives To explore participation in PA and PE in JIA patients, and to explore facilitators and barriers for PA participation in JIA and matched controls.
Methods The study cohort included 60 JIA patients (50 girls, 10 boys) and 60 controls individually matched for age and sex randomly selected from the Norwegian Population Registry. Of the JIA patients, 30 had persistent oligoarthritis and 30 had polyarticular disease (extended oligoarthritis and polyarticular RF +/-). The patients were aged 10–16 years and recruited consecutively at Oslo University Hospital in 2015. Participation in PA and facilitators and barriers for PA participation, were explored with structured interviews. The interview guide was developed for this study based on literature review and clinical experience. Differences between the study groups were analyzed using the McNemar test.
Results Participation in physical activities was not significantly different between JIA patients and controls (Table 1). The most commonly practiced organized physical activities in both groups were dancing and soccer, and the most commonly practiced unorganized physical activities were jogging, training at fitness center and strength exercising at home. Participation in PE is shown in Table 1. Fun was the most reported facilitator for participation in PA both in patients and controls, 40 (67%) vs 45 (75%), respectively, p=0.32. Becoming fit was an often reported facilitator in patients and controls, 12 (20%) vs 21 (35%) respectively, p=0.07. Being with friends was a facilitator more often reported by controls than patients, 13 (22%) in controls vs 1 (2%) patient (p<0.001). Less pain was a facilitator in 4 patients, but not in any controls (p=0.06). 26 (43%) patients and 19 (32%) controls reported barriers for participating in PA (p=0.46). More controls reported time as a PA barrier, 11 (18%) vs 3 (5%) (p=0.02), while more patients reported pain as a barrier; 18 (30%) vs 8 (13%) (p=0.03). Disease activity was a barrier in 4 (7%) patients.
Conclusions The majority of JIA patients and controls participated in organized or unorganized PA. Fun was the most reported facilitator in patients, followed by becoming fit and having less pain. Pain was the dominant PA barrier in patients, while time was the most frequently reported barrier in controls. Some patients experienced disease activity as a barrier. Nearly all the patients (97%) participated regularly in PE, but ¼ needed some modifications. These results are reassuring, and highlight the importance of enjoyment for participation in PA.
Disclosure of Interest None declared