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Dev Med Child Neurol. 2010 May;52(5):448-55. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2009.03609.x. Epub 2010 Jan 28.

An internet-based physical activity intervention for adolescents with cerebral palsy: a randomized controlled trial.

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1
School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia 5001, Australia. carol.maher@unisa.edu.au

Abstract

AIM:

To determine the effectiveness of an 8-week internet-based, lifestyle physical-activity intervention for adolescents with cerebral palsy (CP).

METHOD:

A randomized controlled trial using concealed allocation with blinded assessments at baseline, 10, and 20 weeks. Forty-one adolescents with CP participated (26 males, 15 females; mean age 13y 7mo, SD 1y 8mo, range 11-17y; Gross Motor Function Classification System levels: I, n=21; II, n=17; III, n=3; unilateral distribution n=16, bilateral n=25). Primary outcome was physical activity (NL-1000 accelerometers and self-report [Multimedia Activity Recall for Children and Adolescents: MARCA]). Secondary outcomes were exercise knowledge (a purpose-designed scale), attitudes, intention and self-efficacy (Lifestyle Education for Activity Program II scales), self-reported sedentary behaviour (MARCA), and functional capacity (6-min walk test).

RESULTS:

At 10 weeks the intervention group showed no increased physical activity compared with the comparison group (weekly steps: change of +2420 vs -12189 steps p=0.06; weekly moderate-to-vigorous physical activity: change of +70 vs +8min, p=0.06; weekly distance walked: change of +3 vs -9.1km, p=0.05) and exercise knowledge (12% vs 1% improvement, p=0.08). There were no statistically significant differences for these outcomes at 20 weeks, or in self-reported physical activity at 10 or 20 weeks.

INTERPRETATION:

There was a positive short-term pattern for improvement in physical activity and knowledge. Internet-based programs may offer an alternative for participants unable to attend regular face-to-face physical activity programs.

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