Measuring physical activity in youth with cerebral palsy
Methods: Fifty youth with CP aged 6-18 years (mean=11.98, SD= 3.35) participated in a 2.5 hour session consisting of 8 activities representing sedentary to vigorous PA. The majority of participants were female (54%), diagnosed with spastic hemiplegia (50%) and mild CP (GMFCS Level I; 46%). Participants wore accelerometers on arms, hips and ankles and a portable indirect calorimeter to measure PA levels and intensity during activities.
Intra-class coefficient correlations (ICCs) were generated to evaluate inter-instrument reliability. Spearman correlations were used to evaluate validity between accelerometer counts and oxygen data. Trend analysis was done to examine PA intensity. Statistical significance was set at alpha = 0.05.
Results: Preliminary analyses on the first 25 subjects indicate that accelerometers are reliable (ICCs: 0.93-0.99) and valid (Spearman's rho: 0.70 0.82). Trends in oxygen data suggest increased PA intensity in activities with increased PA demands.
Discussion: Youth with CP may have more PA demands in daily activities compared to peers without disabilities. Accelerometers are valid and reliable PA measures for children with CP.
Conclusion: Accelerometers may be appropriate instruments to measure PA in youth with CP and to inform design and evaluation of health promotion programs.
Learning Areas:Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Other professions or practice related to public health
Discuss various levels of CP and impact on PA. Distinguish among PA dimensions and measures of these dimensions when planning a health promotion program for youth with CP. Explain the importance of PA and health promotion interventions for children with special health care needs.
Keyword(s): Children With Special Needs, Physical Activity
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an associate professor at Drexel University in the College of Nursing and Health Professions. I have a secondary appointment in the School of Public Health. I conduct research on health promotion, physical activity and fitness measures and intervention outcomes for children with special health care needs. I present research findings at multiple professional conferences and publish findings from my resesarch.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.