Physical activity in a total population of children and adolescents with cerebral palsy

Res Dev Disabil. 2013 Jan;34(1):157-67. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2012.07.005. Epub 2012 Aug 30.


The aims of this study were to describe the participation in physical activity of children with cerebral palsy (CP) at school and during leisure time and to identify characteristics associated with physical activity. The frequency of receiving physiotherapeutic interventions were described as a variable of interest. A total population of 364 children with verified CP aged 7-17 years living in the Skåne region in Sweden was studied using cross-sectional data from the CP follow-up programme (CPUP). Proportional odds ratios showed the most severe gross motor limitations Gross Motor Function Classification System Expanded and Revised (GMFCS-E&R) to be a characteristic for low participation in physical education at school (PE) and GMFCS-E&R level III to be a characteristic for low participation in regular physical leisure activity. The age group of 7-11 years and obesity were characteristics associated with high participation in PE, whereas thinness was associated with low participation in regular physical leisure time activities. The highest proportion of children receiving physiotherapeutic interventions was found in GMFCS-E&R level III, while mental retardation, especially if moderate or severe, proved to be an independent characteristic associated with low frequency of physiotherapeutic interventions. Gender and epilepsy did not influence the odds for participation in physical activities. Special considerations are needed when planning interventions for increased physical activity in children with CP, as the individual prerequisites differ, even among children with the same gross motor function level according to the GMFCS-E&R.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cerebral Palsy / epidemiology*
  • Cerebral Palsy / rehabilitation*
  • Child
  • Epilepsy / rehabilitation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity*
  • Motor Skills
  • Physical Education and Training / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / statistics & numerical data
  • Sports
  • Sweden / epidemiology