By Martin Brasholt, MD, PhD
Chairman: Flemming Dela
Opponent: Peter Oluf Schiøtz
Opponent: Vibeke Backer
Physical activity is essential to the young child for assuring normal growth and good health. Particularly young children experience and learn through physical activity and are therefore dependent on physical ability to develop adequately. There are many reasons to promote physical activity in children as early as preschool since several chronic diseases in adolescence and adulthood can be prevented from being physically active in childhood.
Valid and reliable measures are needed when assessing physical activity in children. This is essential to ensure that the level of physical activity measured is representative of the actual activity carried out, and that an association found between physical activity and health outcomes is a close reflection of the truth. However, researchers using accelerometers to assess physical activity in young children are faced with many methodological decisions when applying this technology.
Asthmatic symptoms have been identified as a barrier to exercise by children aged 7-14 years. Younger children aged 5 years may also experience exercise-induced asthma symptoms without being able to recognize them as such or report them in view of their young age. There is no gold standard for diagnosing exercise-induced asthma including in young children, and means to identify children experiencing exercise-induces asthma symptoms seems needed. This can be done with studies that elaborate on the relationship between physical activity and lung function measurements in children as young as 5 years of age.