Habitual physical activity and cardiometabolic risk factors in adults with cerebral palsy

Res Dev Disabil. 2014 Sep;35(9):1995-2002. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2014.03.051. Epub 2014 May 24.


Adults with cerebral palsy (CP) are known to participate in reduced levels of total physical activity. There is no information available however, regarding levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in this population. Reduced participation in MVPA is associated with several cardiometabolic risk factors. The purpose of this study was firstly to compare levels of sedentary, light, MVPA and total activity in adults with CP to adults without CP. Secondly, the objective was to investigate the association between physical activity components, sedentary behavior and cardiometabolic risk factors in adults with CP. Adults with CP (n=41) age 18-62 yr (mean ± SD=36.5 ± 12.5 yr), classified in Gross Motor Function Classification System level I (n=13), II (n=18) and III (n=10) participated in this study. Physical activity was measured by accelerometry in adults with CP and in age- and sex-matched adults without CP over 7 days. Anthropometric indicators of obesity, blood pressure and several biomarkers of cardiometabolic disease were also measured in adults with CP. Adults with CP spent less time in light, moderate, vigorous and total activity, and more time in sedentary activity than adults without CP (p<0.01 for all). Moderate physical activity was associated with waist-height ratio when adjusted for age and sex (β=-0.314, p<0.05). When further adjustment was made for total activity, moderate activity was associated with waist-height ratio (β=-0.538, p<0.05), waist circumference (β=-0.518, p<0.05), systolic blood pressure (β=-0.592, p<0.05) and diastolic blood pressure (β=-0.636, p<0.05). Sedentary activity was not associated with any risk factor. The findings provide evidence that relatively young adults with CP participate in reduced levels of MVPA and spend increased time in sedentary behavior, potentially increasing their risk of developing cardiometabolic disease.

Keywords: Cardiometabolic risk factors; Cerebral palsy; Physical activity; Sedentary behavior.

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cerebral Palsy / epidemiology*
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Habits
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / blood
  • Hypercholesterolemia / epidemiology
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Waist Circumference
  • Waist-Height Ratio
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Triglycerides
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human