Paediatrics - physical activity (FS-11)

Focused symposium (FS)
Tuesday 4 July 2017, 10:45-12:15
Ballroom East

de Groot JF1, Bloemen M2, Maltais D3, McPherson A4,5, Fasika demissie S6
1HU University of Applied Sciences, Research Group Lifestyle and Health, Utrecht, Netherlands, 2HU University of Applied Sciences, Research Center Lifestyle and Health, Utrecht, Netherlands, 3Université Laval, Department of Rehabilitation, Québec City, Canada, 4Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Bloorview Research Institute, Toronto, Canada, 5University of Toronto, Dalla Lana School of Public Health & Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, Toronto, Canada, 6University of Gondar, Department of Physiotherapy, Gondar, Ethiopia

Learning objectives

  1. To present a different model of health with a central role for personal responsibility for patients.
  2. To critically review current PT practice and introduce core elements of coaching aimed at changing physical activity in children with chronic conditions.
  3. To discuss how to use this evidence in countries with restricted resources


Janke de Groot, PT, PhD will introduce a new concept of health proposed by Huber et al (2011), in which health is being defined as “the ability to adapt and to self-manage, in the face of social, physical and emotional challenges.” A big difference in this new concept is the absence of disease as a central factor in health, but rather an increased emphasis on personal responsibility of the patients in prevention and living with chronic conditions and/or disability. It is well known that in the prevention of chronic conditions, being physically active is of great importance (Jansen 2010). In children with chronic conditions, physical activity (PA), is not only important in preventing disease, but also for optimal development of physical, emotional and social well-being (Murphy 2008).

While training programs in children with disability or chronic conditions have been shown to be effective to improve fitness levels in the short term, gains in fitness often do not sustain after the intervention period. Therefore, looking at ways to increase PA levels seems an equally important treatment goal in paediatric physical therapy. Manon Bloemen, PPT, PhD, will discuss best evidence related to factors associated with PA in children and adolescents with a physical disability (Bloemen 2015). She proposes that participation in PA is not an impairment or activity as defined by the ICF model, but rather a complex behavior. Therefore when aiming to improve PA for optimizing health outcomes interventions should include behavior models and models of self-management. Specific recommendations for future research include parental involvement in relationship to the developmental stage of the child, homework activities and incorporating environmental and personal factors known to be associated with PA in youth with disability. Coaching in pediatric rehabilitation is a promising intervention to improve and maintain healthy active behaviors and in line with the personal responsibility of the child and his parents to make a change. Désirée Maltais PT, PhD (Maltais 2014) will discuss new approaches to self-management in healthy active behaviors in children with chronic disease and/or disability and core principles of coaching in pediatric rehabilitation. While this symposium is focused on healthy active living in children with disabilities, these principles are applicable across pediatric rehabilitation population for different behavioral change outcomes. To ensure more global knowledge transfer (outside the western scope), Solomon Fasika Demissie, PT, MSc is project leader at the Community Based Rehabilitation Centre of the University of Gondar, Ethiopia. He will reflect on how this evidence and can be used in communities with fewer resources and how these models of behavioral change and increased patient responsibility are applicable for different countries and cultures.

Implications / Conclusions

This symposium, organized by interdiscliplinary experts in the field of physical activity in youth with disability, will focus on how physical therapists can expand their scope of practice and incorporate personal responsibility of children and parents in self-management of healthy active living in their interventions with youth with chronic childhood conditions and/or chronic disease. A physical therapist from a low income country will discuss how to apply this knowledge in countries with fewer resources.


  1. physical activity
  2. coaching
  3. low resource countries

Funding acknowledgements

J.F.deGroot/M.Bloemen: SIA RAAK PRO (Fit for the Future!) and NSGK

D.Maltais: Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du Québec (20844), Réseau Provincial de Recherche en Adaptation-Réadaptation (09-10DMS-13)

Relevance to physical therapy globally

This international group of researchers is actively involved in developing best practices for improving physical activity and health promotion in persons with childhood onset disability and chronic conditions in physical therapy practice. In this symposium, active lifestyles are being approached as behavior and therefore, behavioral models and theories are being introduced.

Target audience

This symposium is relevant to the daily practice of physical therapist or rehabilitation professionals in local communities working with youth with disabilities or chronic conditions.


Programme subject to change