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Sports and Exercise for Children with Chronic Health Conditions.

1995; Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.: 381 pages Available through the EP Library: (800) 535-1910; code HK101GN Cost: $52.00 plus shipping and handling

In the preface to Sports and Exercise for Children with Chronic Health Conditions, Dr. Goldberg writes that this book "is the first-ever comprehensive set of guidelines for how children with chronic health conditions can participate in sports and exercise."

The book is divided into two sections: one on general issues which comprises four chapters and one which addresses specific chronic conditions.

In the first chapter, "Impact of Chronic Health Conditions in Childhood," the authors, Nancy E. Lanphear, MD, Gregory S. Liptak, MD, and Michael Weitzman, MD, discuss their belief that all children with chronic health conditions have the ability to participate in sports. They give a list of questions to be used by professionals and families to help make decisions regarding a child's participation in sports.

"The Benefits and Risks of Sports and Exercise for Children With Chronic Health Conditions," by Michael A. Nelson, MD, and Sally S. Harris, MD, MPH, is the second chapter. Physical and psychosocial benefits of exercise, as well as risks associated with exercise are examined. Below are excerpts from different sections of the chapter.

On benefits of exercise in general the author writes, "Some components of physical fitness include balance, coordination, speed, and power. Improvement in these factors can contribute to motor development, skill mastery, feelings of competence and achievement, and athletic success for all children. Health-related components of physical fitness include cardiopulmonary endurance, body composition, muscle strength and endurance, and flexibility. Improvement in these areas is associated with reductions in risk factors associated with various disease states."

Going beyond the physical, the author also examines some of the by-products of exercise: "Exercise programs provide children with chronic diseases the same opportunity for enjoyment and social interaction as healthy children, and may promote feelings of normality. Apart from any specific effects of exercise on mental health, exercise programs simply help children to feel good about themselves; exercise and participation in sport often produces a general sense of well-being."

Addressing concerns about risks of exercise the author points out: "The most common contributing factor potentially associated with all chronic diseases is a rapid change from a sedentary lifestyle to one of intense physical activity. Avoiding overuse injuries will require a very gradual increase in physical activity for many of these youngsters if they are to include regular exercise programs in their lives."

The book's third chapter, "Considerations for Sports Selection and Preparatory Training," by Dr. Goldberg, Arthur M. Pappas, MD, and Nancy M. Cummings, MD, covers recommendations for activities and assessment of baseline physical activity and fitness. There are tables classifying sports according to contact potential, aerobic intensity, static and dynamic demands (i.e., muscle groups used, demand placed on the heart, which sports raise blood pressure), and motion ratings.

The final chapter in Section I, "Legal Issues Regarding Children With Chronic Health Conditions," by Leonard Rieser, JD, and Sarah D. Cohn, JD, discusses the legal rights of children with chronic health conditions to participate in sports. They review the ADA and IDEA definitions of eligibility, and tell families what procedures to follow to establish their child's eligibility rights under these statutes.

Part II of the book, "Sports, Exercise, and Specific Chronic Health Conditions," is a series of 20 chapters, each devoted to a specific condition; the effects of exercise on the condition; exercise and sports programs that are appropriate; preparation; and instructions for healthcare personnel, where applicable.

Sports and Exercise for Children with Chronic Health Conditions is easy to understand with generous use of illustrations, tables, and charts. Although this book was written for healthcare professionals, it is just as suitable for parents of children with special needs who would like to participate in exercise or sports.

Excerpts reprinted with permission.
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Publication:The Exceptional Parent
Date:May 1, 2000
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