Background: Benefit of fitness on children with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) is still debated. Aim: To evaluate the influence of physical activity on metabolic balance and exercise tolerance in prepubertal children affected by T1DM. Methods: We analyzed 35 pre-/peripubertal T1DM children and 31 matched controls using an activity monitor (SenseWear Armbad) and physical activity questionnaire (PAQ) to assess energy expenditure (EE), total and active, sedentary and physical activities (h/day and Mets = metabolic equivalents). The maximal cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET) was also performed. Results: Total physical activities and total and active EE (>3 Mets) resulted higher in controls than in T1DM patients and self-reported perception of physical and sedentary activities was altered in T1DM children as well in controls and were different from the measured data. No differences were found in CPET parameters with the exception of a higher maximal blood pressure in T1DM children. In multivariate analysis HbA1c negatively correlated with VO2. Conclusion: Prepubertal T1DM children seem to have a lower level of physical activity and EE and a probable altered feeling of physical and sedentary activities. On the other hand, T1DM children do not show any alteration of cardiovascular performance, although glycemic control (HbA1c) may play a role in cardiovascular performance.
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