Do adolescents with cerebral palsy meet recommendations for healthy weight and physical activity behaviours?
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© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Purpose: Describe physical activity energy expenditure, body composition, and nutritional intake in adolescents with cerebral palsy (CP) in the context of health recommendations. Materials and methods: A cross-sectional study of 12 adolescents, aged 12–19 years, with CP, classified as Gross Motor Function Classification System levels II–V. Actiheart® accelerometry assessed daily physical activity energy expenditure; Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) and skinfold assessment measured percentage body fat; the Modified Nutrition Questionnaire for children aged 12–18 years assessed nutritional intake. Results: These adolescents spent per day a median of 413.3 min in sedentary (range: 90.0–621.9), 206.2 min in light activity (range: 48.4–509.5), and 65.5 min in moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) (range: 9.4–363.9). Sixty-four percent of the participants met guidelines for time spent in MVPA, only one participant (9%) met the target for sedentary behaviour, and one (9%) participant reached all of the nutritional targets. Participants had a median percentage body fat of 43% by DXA and 40.3% by skinfold assessment. Seventy-three percent of the participants were classed as having a potentially unhealthy body composition according to percentage body fat. Conclusions: Adolescents with CP may have a high percentage body fat, and high levels of both sedentary activity and moderate-vigorous physical activity.Implications for rehabilitation Cerebral palsy specific strategies to decrease time in sedentary activity need to be determined as adolescents were not meeting national guidelines, however, most did meet guidelines for time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity. Percentage body fat should be monitored in adolescents with cerebral palsy, as adolescents with cerebral palsy tend to have a high body fat ratio, despite some recording Body Mass Index within a healthy range. Triceps and subscapular skinfold assessment accurately assess percentage body fat in adolescents with cerebral palsy.
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