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J Child Neurol. 2014 Aug;29(8):1091-100. doi: 10.1177/0883073814533152. Epub 2014 May 11.

Health-related physical fitness for children with cerebral palsy.

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Department of Rehabilitation, Laval University, and Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, Alberta Health Services and Department of Physical Therapy, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Center for Cerebral Palsy, Orthopaedic Institute for Children, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Tarjan Center, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Brain Center Rudolf Magnus and Center of Excellence for Rehabilitation Medicine, University Medical Center Utrecht and Rehabilitation Center De Hoogstraat, Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Rehabilitation Medicine Department, Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.


Low levels of physical activity are a global health concern for all children. Children with cerebral palsy have even lower physical activity levels than their typically developing peers. Low levels of physical activity, and thus an increased risk for related chronic diseases, are associated with deficits in health-related physical fitness. Recent research has provided therapists with the resources to effectively perform physical fitness testing and physical activity training in clinical settings with children who have cerebral palsy, although most testing and training data to date pertains to those who walk. Nevertheless, on the basis of the present evidence, all children with cerebral palsy should engage, to the extent they are able, in aerobic, anaerobic, and muscle-strengthening activities. Future research is required to determine the best ways to evaluate health-related physical fitness in nonambulatory children with cerebral palsy and foster long-term changes in physical activity behavior in all children with this condition.


cerebral palsy; physical activity; physical fitness

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