156143 Physical inactivity among people with epilepsy

Monday, November 5, 2007

Elizabeth Ablah, PhD, MPH , Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, Wichita, KS
Kurt Konda , Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, Wichita, KS
Kore Liow, MD , Via Christi Comprehensive Epilepsy Center and Neurophysiology Laboratory, Wichita, KS
Although physical inactivity can be considered in pandemic proportions, people with epilepsy face additional barriers to being physically active. People with epilepsy tend to avoid exercise as many believe the activity may induce a seizure, many fear having a seizure in public, and many are concerned about their safety (e.g. if they fall). Moreover, several anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) tend to cause weight gain, therefore often increasing the need for physical activity among this population. This study examined Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data to determine the relationship between epilepsy and physical activity. As epilepsy and physical activity items are optional for states' inclusion, a limited number of states that included both types of question during the same survey year were included in the study. States included in the study were Arizona, South Carolina, Washington, and Texas. Those with epilepsy participate in physical activities less than people who do not have epilepsy or seizure disorders and when people with epilepsy do participate in physical activities, they are more likely to engage in more moderate, less vigorous activities than people who do not have epilepsy. This issue is not reflected appropriately in the academic literature. Additional research is necessary to determine if the trends identified in the study extend beyond a handful of states' BFRSS data. The implications of this study are many; the most notable of which is the need for partnership between neurologists and physical activity proponents to encourage safe and appropriate physical activities for this population.

Learning Objectives:
1) Identify the added importance of physical activity for people with epilepsy. 2) Discuss the added challenges for people with epilepsy to exercise. 3) Describe some physical activities that people with epilepsy engage in.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.