Open Access Open Badges Study protocol

Design of a cross-sectional study on physical fitness and physical activity in children and adolescents after burn injury

Laurien M Disseldorp1*, Leonora J Mouton1, Tim Takken2, Marco Van Brussel2, Gerard IJM Beerthuizen3, Lucas HV Van der Woude14 and Marianne K Nieuwenhuis3

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Human Movement Sciences, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, PO Box 196, 9700 AD, Groningen, The Netherlands

2 Child Development and Exercise Center, Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands

3 Association of Dutch Burn Centers, Martini Hospital, Groningen, The Netherlands

4 Center for Rehabilitation, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands

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BMC Pediatrics 2012, 12:195  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-12-195

Published: 20 December 2012



Burn injuries have a major impact on the patient’s physical and psychological functioning. The consequences can, especially in pediatric burns, persist long after the injury. A decrease in physical fitness seems logical as people survive burn injuries after an often extensive period of decreased activity and an increased demand of proteins leading to catabolism, especially of muscle mass. However, knowledge on the possibly affected levels of physical fitness in children and adolescents after burn injury is limited and pertains only to children with major burns. The current multidimensional study aims to determine the level of physical fitness, the level of physical activity, health-related quality of life and perceived fatigue in children after a burn injury. Furthermore, interrelations between those levels will be explored, as well as associations with burn characteristics.


Children and adolescents in the age range of 6 up to and including 18 years are invited to participate in this cross-sectional descriptive study if they have been admitted to one of the three Dutch burn centers between 6 months and 5 years ago with a burn injury involving at least 10% of the total body surface area and/or were hospitalized ≥ 6 weeks. Physical fitness assessments will take place in a mobile exercise lab. Quantitative measures of cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, body composition and flexibility will be obtained. Outcomes will be compared with Dutch reference values. Physical activity, health-related quality of life and fatigue will be assessed using accelerometry and age-specific questionnaires.


The findings of the current study will contribute to a better understanding of the long-term consequences of burn injury in children and adolescents after burns. The results can guide rehabilitation to facilitate a timely and optimal physical recovery.

Trial registration

The study is registered in the National Academic Research and Collaborations Information System of the Netherlands (OND1348800).

Burns; Outcome assessment; Child; Fatigue; Quality of Life