Duration and patterns of habitual physical activity in adolescents and young adults with cerebral palsy

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2014 Jul;56(7):673-80. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.12394. Epub 2014 Feb 10.


Aim: Adolescents and young adults with cerebral palsy (CP) show reduced motor function and gait efficiency, and lower levels of habitual physical activity (HPA), than adolescents with typical development and children with CP. This study examined activity duration and patterns in this population in the Middle East through long-term monitoring of a large sample using accelerometers.

Method: Adolescents and young adults with bilateral CP at Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) levels II, III, and IV, were monitored in their habitual environment for four consecutive days with ActivPAL3 monitors. Time spent in sedentary, standing, and walking activities, and frequency of walking steps and transitions, were analysed for each GMFCS level.

Results: Measurements were made on 222 participants (132 males, 90 females; mean age 16 y 9 mo SD 2y, range 13 y 4 mo-22 y). The Mann-Whitney U test demonstrated significant differences (p<0.05) between GMFCS levels, showing reduced walking and standing activity and increased sedentary duration at higher GMFCS levels (p<0.001), except for increased standing time between GMFCS levels II and III (p=0.07). Participants in educational facilities exhibited less sedentary behaviour than those who were homebound (p<0.05).

Interpretation: These descriptions of duration and frequency of active and sedentary behaviours may serve as a basis for recommendations to minimize inactivity in this population. Adolescents and young adults with CP in the Middle East demonstrate similar patterns of HPA to their peers in other regions.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00940706.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology*
  • Cerebral Palsy / psychology*
  • Female
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Walking
  • Young Adult

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00940706