Children and adolescents growing up with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are less fit than their peers according to research conducted by McMaster University and McMaster Children’s Hospital in Ontario, Canada.
The study shows children and young people with the most common forms of inflammatory bowel disease have aerobic fitness levels 25% lower than other children of their age, with muscle function 10% lower as well. In addition, the study showed that patients with inflammatory bowel disease that is in remission also have poor fitness levels that may start at an early age.
Research measured the aerobic fitness and muscle function in patients with either Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, which are the most common forms of IBD. The study confirms that patients should be encouraged to be as active as possible and families should be provided with resources regarding active living. Clinicians who specialise in IBD are recommended to consider referring patients for exercise testing, and the possible involvement of a physiotherapist if needed.