The nutritional state of children and adolescents with cerebral palsy is associated with oral motor dysfunction and social conditions: a cross sectional study

BMC Neurol. 2016 Apr 26:16:55. doi: 10.1186/s12883-016-0573-8.


Background: Cerebral palsy (CP) is the main cause of severe physical impairment during childhood and has commonly shown oral motor association. It has been considered as the main cause of the high prevalence of problems in children's nutrition. Respiration, chewing, swallowing, speaking and facial expressionare part of the orofacial motor functions and when affected they can interfere in children's well-being. The aim of this study was to correlate two methods of orofacial motor evaluation, analyze the influence of orofacial motor functional impairment on the nutritional status of children and adolescents with CP, and the association between socioeconomic factors.

Methods: Seventy children and adolescents with CP were selected, age range 6-16 years and following the exclusion criteria previously determined; 129 normoreactive children (control group), sex and age-matched to patients with CP. For the orofacial motor analysis two evaluation instruments were applied, the "Oral Motor Assessment Scale" (OMAS) and "Nordic Orofacial Test-Screening" (NOT-S). The anthropometric evaluation was based on the World Health Organization (WHO) and followed the criteria recommended by the Brazilian Ministry of Health.

Results: There was statistically significant correlation between the oral motor methods of evaluation (r = -0.439, p < 0.0001). Concerning the nutritional status evaluation, being overweight was associated with dystonic and mixed CP forms variables (p = 0.034), mother with no partnership (p = 0.045) and mild oral motor impairment (p = 0.028).

Conclusion: It could be concluded that, the weight's gain by children and adolescents might be favored by a better functional oral motor performance and social factors.

Keywords: Cerebral palsy; Children; Nutrition; Oral motor function.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cerebral Palsy / complications*
  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Movement Disorders / complications*
  • Movement Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Prevalence
  • Socioeconomic Factors*