Food pattern and nutritional status of children with cerebral palsy

Estándar alimentar y estado nutricional de niños con parálisis cerebral

Patrícia Ayrosa C. Lopes Olga Maria S. Amancio Roberta Faria C. Araújo Maria Sylvia de S. Vitalle Josefina Aparecida P. Braga About the authors


To assess the food intake pattern and the nutritional status of children with cerebral palsy.


Cross-sectional study with 90 children from two to 12.8 years with cerebral palsy in the following forms: hemiplegia, diplegia, and tetraplegia. Nutritional status was assessed by weight, height, and age data. Food intake was verified by the 24-hour recall and food frequency questionnaire. The ability to chew and/or swallowing, intestinal habits, and physical activity were also evaluated.


For 2-3 year-old age group, the mean energy intake followed the recommended range; in 4-6 year-old age group with hemiplegia and tetraplegia, energy intake was below the recommended limits. All children presented low intake of carbohydrates, adequate intake of proteins and high intake of lipids. The tetraplegia group had a higher prevalence of chewing (41%) and swallowing (12.8%) difficulties compared to 14.5 and 6.6% of children with hemiplegia, respectively. Most children of all groups had a daily intestinal habit. All children presented mild physical activity, while moderate activity was not practiced by any child of the tetraplegia group, which had a significantly lower height/age Z score than those with hemiplegia (-2.14 versus -1.05; p=0.003).


The children with cerebral palsy presented inadequate dietary pattern and impaired nutritional status, with special compromise of height. Tetraplegia imposes difficulties regarding chewing/swallowing and moderate physical activity practice.

brain damage, chronic; cerebral palsy; nutritional status; child

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