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Exercise Therapy in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: Review and Meta-analysis

Key Message

Exercise therapy appears to be well tolerated and beneficial across clinically relevant outcomes in patients with JIA.


Kuntze, Gregor et al. (2017). Exercise Therapy in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. In PRess, Online July 2017. DOI:


To conduct a systematic review to evaluate the efficacy of exercise interventions on improving outcomes across domains of functioning and disability in children and adolescents with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA). Two authors screened search results and discrepancies were resolved by consensus. Of 5037 potentially relevant studies, nine randomized controlled trials (RCT) and one cohort study, were included and scored.


Study quality and level of evidence was assessed and meta-analysis conducted where appropriate. Alternatively, a descriptive summary approach was chosen. All RCTs were moderate quality intervention studies [level 2b evidence; median DB score 20/32 (range 15–27)]. Interventions included aquatic, strengthening, proprioceptive, aerobic, and Pilates exercises. Pediatric activity capacity (Child Health Assessment Questionnaire) improved with exercise (median MD 0.45 [95% CI 0.05, 0.76]). Further, descriptive summaries indicated improved activity capacity, body function and structure (pain and muscle strength), and quality of life outcomes.

Benefit Statements / Outcomes

Leadership Provided By:

  • Leisure Information Network (LIN)
  • Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

On Behalf Of:

  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRAA)

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