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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: James A. Stockman III, MD (American Board of Pediatrics)
Description: This is one of few books that attempts to review the therapeutic benefits of exercise in children with chronic disease. It is the only book of its type that is comprehensive.
Purpose: Guidelines for sporting activities and other exercises are set for 20 common medical conditions, including spina bifida, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, progressive neuromuscular disease, arthritis, asthma, cystic fibrosis, AIDS, hypertension, heart disease, hemophilia, and diabetes. The book is truly the most comprehensive available on the topic of exercise and chronic disease in children.
Audience: It is intended as a resource for pediatricians and other professionals who need to make decisions about exercise participation and other physical activities. Part one of the book discusses how chronic diseases can disturb normal physiologic functions as well as the physical development of children and how exercise can be therapeutic. This section of the book will be of interest to all care providers and also to parents. The second part of the book reviews in detail a variety of specific medical entities. This section will be of most interest to practitioners. Dr. Barry Goldberg, who is Director of Sports Medicine at Yale University Health Services, is well-known in the field of sports medicine and the impact of chronic disease on children's physical well-being. The chapter authors are also well known in their individual disciplines and although many may not have had specific interest in exercise, each has had an extensive clinical experience with the disease entities they review.
Features: A particularly attractive feature of the book is the nicely illustrated chapters and excellent tables. The references, in most cases, are meticulously up-to-date. The overall appearance of the book is one of high quality. Given the multiauthored nature of the chapters, there is some unevenness to the presentation of the topics. Some chapters deal at length with disease entities, addressing exercise and sports only superficially. Other chapters deal with disease entities in such a cursory manner as to provide little information. One particularly interesting aspect of the book is the fact that many of the authors surveyed their colleagues to arrive at a consensus about the types of limitations that should or should not be placed upon children with specific chronic diseases. Although perhaps lacking in some science in this regard, such an approach does give the reader a sense of what experts in the field think.
Assessment: This is truly the only book of its type that deals with exercise and chronic disease in children in such a comprehensive manner. Although uneven at times, the book is generally well written. Some readers will wish that more concrete recommendations are provided about the "do's" and "don'ts" of exercise in certain conditions. In most instances, however, where such detail is missing, there is little science to support any specific recommendation. Despite the limitations of this book, it is a worthy addition to most individuals' libraries.