Dr. Pat Longmuir (Junior Research Scientist) was recently awarded a one-year grant worth $30,000 to study physical literacy in children with a medical condition. Below is a brief summary of the grant:

Physical Literacy of Children with a Medical Condition: Shifting Our Focus from Survival to Optimal Health

Children with a medical condition or limitation are often inactive. Being less active makes it hard for them to enjoy or play with other children or their family. It also makes it more likely that they will become overweight, or have diabetes or heart disease. We know that if children are active everyday they do better in school, are happier, feel less stress, and are more likely to be healthy adults. Active children play and socialize more often with other children and their family. We want to help children who see doctors at CHEO to get the physical and mental health benefits of being active every day. This project will find out about the problems that make activity difficult for children with a medical condition or hearing loss. Once we know about the problems, it will be easier for us to know the best way to help.

We will ask 140 children from the heart, arthritis, epilepsy and hearing loss clinics to be in our study. Children and their parents will wear pedometers that count how many steps they take each day. The children will show us how they can run, jump, throw and catch and we will measure their fitness. Parents and children will also answer questions on a computer to see what they know about being active and whether they think it is important. All of these tests will tell us why these children find it hard to be active. We will also compare the children in this study with over 700 children we have tested in Ottawa-area schools. By analyzing the results of our study, we will learn about the best way to support children with a medical condition or hearing loss to play actively with their friends. Knowing what support they need will allow us to do future studies that can help them to increase their physical activity level.