Introduction Poor growth in children with cerebral palsy (CP) has been well described in the literature.
Objective This study assessed the growth of infants and children with CP and other motor disorders attending a CDC for treatment/rehabilitation, and fed only orally.
Subjects and Methods 170 children, 96 males (56.5%), mean decimal age 4±3.5 years, were recruited. Corrected age was used if the subject was <2 years old. Measurements included weight (Wt), length (L)/height (Ht), head circumference (HC), body mass index (BMI), and target height (TH). All data were compared with the national reference growth charts for healthy children. All measurements were performed by the same experienced paediatrician using equipment of great accuracy (Wunder electronic scales with seat mode, SECA 210 measuring mat, SECA 202 stadiometer).
Results 6 children (35%) were born premature, and 23 (13.5%) resulted from twin pregnancies – 15 (65%) being twin I. Mean gestational age was 36±4.2 weeks. In the boys’ group mean birth Wt (bWt) was 2.5±0.9 Kg, bL 46.7±6.6 cm, bHC 32.6±3.9, TH 176−9 cm. At the time of measurement mean Wt was 15.8±12.3 Kg, Ht 93.3±23.9 cm, HC 46.7±4.4 cm, and BMI 16±2.8. In the girls’ group the parameters were: bWt 2.4±0.9 Kg, bL 46.5±4.8 cm, bHC 32±3.8, TH 167±5.3 cm, Wt 15.6±13 Kg, Ht 92±22.5 cm, HC 46±4.4 cm, and BMI 16±3. Only 21 boys (20%) and 11 girls (10.6%) were reaching their TH potential ±two centiles of the 104 THs available.
Conclusions Growth retardation among children with CP mainly is often attributed to feeding dysfunction and malnutrition, communication difficulties that inhibit requests for food, impaired expression of hunger or food preferences, and lack for self-feeding skills. Identification of risk factors associated with undernutrition is important for its early detection, treatment, and prevention of later behavioural and health consequences.
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