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Phd ceremony Ms. M.L. Dontje: Daily physical activity in patients with a chronic disease

When:Mo 16-06-2014 13:00 - 14:00

Regular physical activity is important for patients with a chronic disease, because it can slow down disease progression and improve quality of life. Exercise is beneficial for health, as well as daily physical activity such as walking, cycling, and gardening. This thesis describes five studies aimed at daily physical activity in patients with a chronic disease. The studies demonstrated that despite the importance of physical activity in the management of chronic diseases, most patients do not increase their physical activity after diagnosis. Our research shows that many patients with a chronic disease, such as heart disease or Parkinson’s disease, are not meeting the recommended levels of physical activity, and that there is a large variability in physical activity between patients. The level of physical activity can be determined by numerous different factors, but our work suggests that the disease itself is not the most important factor. Finally, a few recommendations are formulated. First, in order to carefully evaluate the amount of physical activity in patients, current guidelines must be more concrete, individually tailored, and disease specific. Second, it is recommended to use performance based methods to measure physical activity and to follow literature based guidelines regarding (pre)processing accelerometer data as much as possible. This will allow researchers and health care providers to compare physical activity of patients between different studies. Lastly, we emphasize that health care providers should take more responsibility for stimulating inactive patients to become more physically active in daily life.

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