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      A prospective, longitudinal study of growth, nutrition and sedentary behaviour in young children with cerebral palsy


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          Cerebral palsy is the most common cause of physical disability in childhood, occurring in one in 500 children. It is caused by a static brain lesion in the neonatal period leading to a range of activity limitations. Oral motor and swallowing dysfunction, poor nutritional status and poor growth are reported frequently in young children with cerebral palsy and may impact detrimentally on physical and cognitive development, health care utilisation, participation and quality of life in later childhood. The impact of modifiable factors (dietary intake and physical activity) on growth, nutritional status, and body composition (taking into account motor severity) in this population is poorly understood. This study aims to investigate the relationship between a range of factors - linear growth, body composition, oral motor and feeding dysfunction, dietary intake, and time spent sedentary (adjusting for motor severity) - and health outcomes, health care utilisation, participation and quality of life in young children with cerebral palsy (from corrected age of 18 months to 5 years).


          This prospective, longitudinal, population-based study aims to recruit a total of 240 young children with cerebral palsy born in Queensland, Australia between 1 st September 2006 and 31 st December 2009 (80 from each birth year). Data collection will occur at three time points for each child: 17 - 25 months corrected age, 36 ± 1 months and 60 ± 1 months. Outcomes to be assessed include linear growth, body weight, body composition, dietary intake, oral motor function and feeding ability, time spent sedentary, participation, medical resource use and quality of life.


          This protocol describes a study that will provide the first longitudinal description of the relationship between functional attainment and modifiable lifestyle factors (dietary intake and habitual time spent sedentary) and their impact on the growth, body composition and nutritional status of young children with cerebral palsy across all levels of functional ability.

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          Most cited references50

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          Development and reliability of a system to classify gross motor function in children with cerebral palsy.

          To address the need for a standardized system to classify the gross motor function of children with cerebral palsy, the authors developed a five-level classification system analogous to the staging and grading systems used in medicine. Nominal group process and Delphi survey consensus methods were used to examine content validity and revise the classification system until consensus among 48 experts (physical therapists, occupational therapists, and developmental pediatricians with expertise in cerebral palsy) was achieved. Interrater reliability (kappa) was 0.55 for children less than 2 years of age and 0.75 for children 2 to 12 years of age. The classification system has application for clinical practice, research, teaching, and administration.
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            Conducting accelerometer-based activity assessments in field-based research.

            The purpose of this review is to address important methodological issues related to conducting accelerometer-based assessments of physical activity in free-living individuals. We review the extant scientific literature for empirical information related to the following issues: product selection, number of accelerometers needed, placement of accelerometers, epoch length, and days of monitoring required to estimate habitual physical activity. We also discuss the various options related to distributing and collecting monitors and strategies to enhance compliance with the monitoring protocol. No definitive evidence exists currently to indicate that one make and model of accelerometer is more valid and reliable than another. Selection of accelerometer therefore remains primarily an issue of practicality, technical support, and comparability with other studies. Studies employing multiple accelerometers to estimate energy expenditure report only marginal improvements in explanatory power. Accelerometers are best placed on hip or the lower back. Although the issue of epoch length has not been studied in adults, the use of count cut points based on 1-min time intervals maybe inappropriate in children and may result in underestimation of physical activity. Among adults, 3-5 d of monitoring is required to reliably estimate habitual physical activity. Among children and adolescents, the number of monitoring days required ranges from 4 to 9 d, making it difficult to draw a definitive conclusion for this population. Face-to-face distribution and collection of accelerometers is probably the best option in field-based research, but delivery and return by express carrier or registered mail is a viable option. Accelerometer-based activity assessments requires careful planning and the use of appropriate strategies to increase compliance.
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              Surveillance of cerebral palsy in Europe: a collaboration of cerebral palsy surveys and registers. Surveillance of Cerebral Palsy in Europe (SCPE).

              Although cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common cause of motor deficiency in young children, it occurs in only 2 to 3 per 1000 live births. In order to monitor prevalence rates, especially within subgroups (birthweight, clinical type), it is necessary to study large populations. A network of CP surveys and registers was formed in 14 centres in eight countries across Europe. Differences in prevalence rates of CP in the centres prior to any work on harmonization of data are reported. The subsequent process to standardize the definition of CP, inclusion/exclusion criteria, classification, and description of children with CP is outlined. The consensus that was reached on these issues will make it possible to monitor trends in CP rate, to provide a framework for collaborative research, and a basis for services planning among European countries.

                Author and article information

                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BioMed Central
                6 April 2010
                : 10
                : 179
                [1 ]Queensland Cerebral Palsy and Rehabilitation Research Centre, Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health, School of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
                [2 ]Children's Nutrition Research Centre, Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health, School of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
                [3 ]Queensland Children's Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Australia
                [4 ]The University of Queensland, School of Human Movement Studies, Brisbane, Australia
                [5 ]Department of Speech Pathology, Royal Children's Hospital, Brisbane, Australia
                [6 ]Kluge Children's Rehabilitation Center & Research Institute, University of Virginia (UVA) Children's Hospital, UVA School of Medicine, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
                Copyright ©2010 Bell et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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