Inadequate physical fitness is a major problem affecting the function and health of children with cerebral palsy (CP). Lack of optimal physical activity may contribute to the development of secondary conditions associated with CP such as chronic pain, fatigue, and osteoporosis. The purpose of this article is to highlight the content and recommendations of a Pediatrics Research Summit developed to foster collaborative research in this area. Two components of physical fitness - muscle strength and cardiorespiratory fitness - were emphasized. Although there is evidence to support the use of physical fitness interventions, there are many gaps in our current knowledge. Additional research of higher quality and rigor is needed in order to make definitive recommendations regarding the mode, intensity, frequency, and duration of exercise. Outcome measurements have focused on the body functions and structures level of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), and much less is known about effects at the activities and participation levels. Additionally, the influence of nutritional and growth factors on physical fitness has not been studied in this population, in which poor growth and skeletal fragility have been identified as serious health issues. Current intervention protocols and outcome measurements were critically evaluated, and recommendations were made for future research.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation