children doing PE in the playground

Physical Activity in Children With Epilepsy


Anecdotal evidence suggests that children with epilepsy (CWE) are limited in the frequency of their daily physical activity (PA). However, there is limited research utilizing device-based measures of PA. We compared levels of PA and sedentary behavior in CWE (11–15 y) and age- and gender-matched healthy controls. 


Participants (n = 60 CWE [25 males, 35 females] and n = 49 controls [25 males, 24 females]) wore a Actigraph accelerometer (GT3X or GT3X+) for 7 consecutive days during waking hours and self-reported their PA and sedentary behaviors. CWE were compared with control children on time spent in different intensities of PA and on self-reported PA and sedentary behavior. Factors associated with PA were analyzed using linear regression.


CWE spent less time in accelerometer assessed light (189.15 vs 215.01 min/d, P < .05) and vigorous PA (35.14 vs 44.28 min/d, P < .05) on weekdays compared with controls. There were no significant differences between CWE and control participants in accelerometer assessed time spent sedentary or time spent in PA on weekends. Among CWE, older children engaged in more reported sedentary behavior and younger children spent more time in most domains of PA (P < .05). Furthermore, CWE reported less PA than controls (P = .006). Sixteen percent of controls met World Health Organization PA guidelines compared with 10% of CWE. There was a positive relationship between accelerometer assessed PA and quality of life for CWE. 


CWE spent less time in light and moderate to vigorous PA on weekdays. Further research is needed to understand reasons for these differences.

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