Relationship Between Nutritional Status and Severity of Cerebral Palsy: A Multicentre Cross-Sectional Study
Keywords:undernutrition, cerebral palsy, motor dysfunction, dysphagia, children
Background: Nutritional problems are common in children with cerebral palsy (CP), yet the relationship between nutritional status and the severity of CP is unclear.
Objective: To describe the nutritional status and characteristics of children with CP, and to explore the relationship between severity of CP and nutritional status in children.
Methods: This multicentre cross-sectional study included children with CP in China. Weight and height were measured and converted to z-scores. Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS), Eating and Drinking Ability Classification System (EDACS), Subjective Global Nutritional Assessment (SGNA), social life ability, and blood indicators were tested.
Results: All 1,151 participants were given oral-feeding and 50.8% of them demonstrated undernutrition. Compared with those in GMFCS or EDACS levels I–III, the odds of moderate and severe undernutrition were 2.6 and 8.9 times higher in GMFCS levels IV and V, and 4.3 and 12.6 times higher in EDACS levels IV and V, respectively. Except for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, no significant differences
were found in blood indicators among normal, undernourished and overnourished groups.
Conclusion: Degrees of undernutrition in children with CP are correlated with the severity of eating and drinking dysfunction and with gross motor impairment. Blood indicators may not reflect nutritional status in children with CP.
Cerebral palsy is the most common physical disability in children in the world. Children with cerebral palsy may have a high risk of having malnutrition as a result of the high energy consumption and/or low energy intake. The former is mainly caused by the abnormal muscular tone, and the latter may emerge from the dysphagia and gastrointestinal problems. As for the optimization of nutritional status is integral to the overall health and clinical management of children with cerebral palsy, the nutritional status stands out for its clinical importance in this group. Children with cerebral palsy are affected by different degrees of motor dysfunction, and may also be faced with eating and drinking problems or limited daily life ability, it is not clear whether nutritional status and function are interrelated. What's more, it is believed that the blood tests may indicate the nutritional status, but it is not well understood. In this project we will look at the nutritional status of children with cerebral palsy in China and investigate the relationship between nutritional status and function and blood indicators. This will then allow clinicians and caregivers to formulate future policies to improve nutritional status for this group of children.
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