BACKGROUND Type 1 Diabetes is a common chronic pediatric disease with increasing incidence. Despite the need of lifelong insulin substitution, affected children and adolescents should be provided with good and unimpeded quality of life. Exercise is a main factor in normal physical and mental development and patients with type 1 diabetes should be allowed to profit equally and without limitations. Especially the benefits concerning the cardiovascular risk profile should be accessible for young diabetics. The complex regulation of blood glucose during physical activity and the risk of hypoglycemia represent limiting factors in the practicability of exercise. They require adaptation of diet and insulin therapy, challenging young patients in daily life.<br />STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS In a cross-sectional study, the regular leisure sport habits of patients with type 1 diabetes was evaluated. Of the 359 contemplable patients, the data of 243 girls and boys at the age of 4-20 years were collected via questionnaires. Mean age was 12,4 years and the average duration of the disease was 5,4 years. Blood parameters and anthropometric characteristics were included to examine differences in glycemic control or cardiovascular risk factors between physically active and inactive individuals. Additionally, predisposing factors that influence activity levels were searched for.<br />RESULTS 42% of the interviewed patients reported being regular physically active in a sports club. Boys were more active than girls. Only 6,4% of the physically inactive individuals were of the opinion that their disease prevented them from being more active. 60,8% of those who do a lot of sport started their activity after the diagnosis of diabetes. 84,3% of the active sports members denied having problems with their blood glucose control during or after training. 56,9% were instructed in adaptations in insulin therapy specifically for physical activity. 81,4% did not feel influenced by diabetes in exercise. No socioeconomic factors influencing physical activity habits were found. Activity in a sports club was associated with better triglyceride levels (p=0,009). Otherwise no significant differences between physically active and inactive individuals concerning glycaemic control and cardiovascular risk profile were found.<br />CONCLUSION Regular physical activity did not differ between the interviewed patients and their peer group as described in a Lower Austrian study on pupils and their lifestyle habits. Apparently, children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes are not prevented to exercise and leading a healthy lifestyle. Our information shows no evidence for improved glycemic control or a lowered cardiovascular risk profile by recreational sports activities other than a significantly lower triglyceride profile.