Aerobic Fitness and Obesity in Adolescents and Young Adults with Spina Bifida
Buffart, L. M., Roebroeck, M. E., Rol, M., Stam, H. J., & Van den Berg-Emons, R. (2008). Triad of Physical Activity, Aerobic Fitness and Obesity in Adolescents and Young Adults with Myelomeningocele. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine (40), 70-75.
Abstract written by: Jenny Carlton
There is little research pertaining to daily physical activity, aerobic fitness and obesity among adolescents and young adults with spina bifida (Myelomeningocele). This study focuses on comprehensively and objectively assessing physical activity, aerobic fitness and body fat in adolescents and young adults with myelomeningocele and to investigate their relationships.
A total of 51 participants with spina bifida participated in this cross-sectional study (26 females & 25 males). Participants represented varying degrees of physical abilities such as those using wheelchairs, as well as different ambulatory levels.
In order to understand overall fitness levels of adolescents and young adults with spina bifida, three areas were assessed: physical activity, aerobic fitness and obesity.
- Physical activity was measured with an accelerometry-based activity monitor during walking, walking up stairs, cycling, general movement and wheelchair-driving.
- Aerobic fitness was calculated by the maximum oxygen uptake during the last minute of a maximal exercise test (cycle ergometry).
- Obesity was assessed using sum of 4skin-folds and body mass index.
- Physical activity - 39% of participants were inactive while the other 37 % were categorized as extremely inactive.
- Aerobic fitness - 42% recorded lower than normative values.
- Obesity - BMI ≥ 30 was found in 35% of the participants; 19% of the males and 52% of the females with myelomeningocele were obese.
Overall, results supported past studies expressing that people with disabilities are more physically inactive and have greater risks to experiencing health related problems. In this study, adolescents and young adults with this type of spina bifida (myelomeningocele) were physically inactive, showed low aerobic fitness level and high body fat. Lastly, differences did exist between genders and physical ability levels.