Study urges teens with CP to decrease sedentary habits

Teenagers with cerebral palsy (CP) do not meet the recommendations for healthy weight and physical activity, a study shows. They may also have a high percentage of body fat as well as being inactive.

The population of teenagers with CP commonly spend more time inactive and as a result, have an increased risk of becoming obese. This habit of reduced physical activity in childhood may continue into adulthood.

Overall, sedentary habits and low physical activity are known risk factors for several diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular disorders. This is also true among children with cerebral palsy.

The study titled: “Do adolescents with cerebral palsy meet recommendations for healthy weight and physical activity behaviours?” was published in the journal Disability and Rehabilitation.

Australian researchers assessed the time spent inactive, light, and moderate-vigorous physical activity, body fat percentage, body mass index (BMI), and nutritional intake in teens with cerebral palsy.

The study enrolled 12 adolescents (ages 12-19) with cerebral palsy who had different levels of motor limitations, as determined by the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS). The majority of participants had reduced or no limitations in eating or drinking, as determined by the Eating and Drinking Ability Classification System (EDACS).

Evaluation of the group physical activity revealed that participants spent 413.3 minutes per half-day engaged in sedentary behaviours; 206.2 minutes were spend in light activities, and 65.5 minutes in moderate-vigorous physical activities.

Overall, 64 per cent of the participants met the recommendations of engaging in 60 minutes of moderate-vigorous physical activity on at least three days. In contrast, only one adolescent met the target of 2 hours or less of sedentary behaviour per day.

The findings suggested that “some young people with CP are using more energy at rest and with movement than might appear from observing their activities,” researchers stated.