Total and regional body fat status among children and young people with cerebral palsy: A scoping review

Clin Obes. 2019 Oct;9(5):e12327. doi: 10.1111/cob.12327. Epub 2019 Jun 24.


The purpose of our scoping review was to determine if children and young people with cerebral palsy (CP) have elevated total or regional body fat compared to children and young people without CP. Databases (Ovid MEDLINE, Embase Ovid, CINHAL and Scopus) were systematically searched from 1 January 1993 to 7 December 2018 in order to identify articles that compared weight status, total body fat or regional body fat (eg, abdominal) between children and young people (0-21 years) with and without CP. Extracted data included country, subject characteristics, group sample sizes and matching strategies, methods/measures for weight status/fat depot, fat depot(s) assessed and key findings. Twenty-two studies were included. Of these, 19 studies examined total body fat; the most common method was use of anthropometrics and the more common measures were body mass index and skin-fold thickness. Twelve studies examined at least one regional fat depot; the most common method was use of anthropometrics and the most common measure was skin-fold thickness. Findings were inconsistent across studies. Further, among 10 studies that examined total and regional body fat depots, 8 found differences across fat depots within the same children and young people (eg, no difference in total body fat but higher abdominal fat). This review provides a summary of inconsistent findings from published studies on body fat comparisons between children and young people with vs without CP, highlights limitations for evaluating body fat for children with CP and discusses future research directions.

Keywords: cerebral palsy; obesity assessment; scoping review.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue*
  • Adiposity / physiology
  • Adolescent
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Skinfold Thickness
  • Young Adult