Sunday, September 7, 2008

Asthmatic Children Face Barriers to Getting Fit

The authors of a new research review said that children with asthma face a number of barriers to participation in physical activity, from family beliefs to school disorganization to their own misperceptions about their symptoms.

According to Dr. Brian Williams of the University of Dundee in Scotland and colleagues conclude, physical activity is important to children with asthma, and efforts must be made to remove these barriers.

Research has shown that exercise can boost aerobic fitness in asthmatic children, and may have psychological advantages as well, they report in the journal BMC Family Practice. In addition, the overwhelming majority of studies show that people with asthma can participate in physical activity safely if medicated appropriately and can significantly improve their cardiovascular fitness and quality of life by doing so.

Williams and his team undertook a review of medical literature, including 61 studies in their analysis, to investigate the level exercise among children with asthma. In addition, several studies showed that children and young people with asthma do tend to be less active than their peers without the disease are. One study even found that pre-scholars with wheezing were less active compared with their classmates without asthma.

The researchers also found that many young people with asthma did not think they were able to participate fully in sports and physical activities. On the other hand, parents' beliefs the key of the matter is by helping their kids to manage their asthma effectively and to be physically active. However, parents could also hinder the effective management of their kids’ disease. Many unnecessarily restricted their child's physical activity because of lack of information or misinterpretation of advice given.

Teachers could also be part of the matter, largely because they frequently lack information on how to manage an asthma attack and thus they are overly cautious about activities children with asthma can pursue. The researchers add that kids may sometimes mistake breathlessness during exercise with an asthma attack.

Steps to help asthmatic children to become more active is providing accurate information to parents, teachers and school officials; and helping children with asthma feel more able to cope with their condition. Moreover, doctors also must strive with their young asthma patients to assist them understand which symptoms indicate a serious problem and which may simply be exercise related.

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