The aim of the study was to assess whether heart rate (HR) monitoring is suitable to estimate energy expenditure in spastic cerebral palsied (CP) children, who are known to have very low levels of daily physical activity. Total daily energy expenditure (TEE) predicted from HR recording(TEEHR, measured over 2 or 3 d) was therefore compared with TEE measured by doubly labeled water (TEEDLW, measured over 14 d) in nine children with spastic diplegia/tetraplegia (mean ± SD age 10.7 ± 1.6 yr). At group level, there was no difference in TEEDLW (7.4± 2.1 MJ·d-1) and TEEHR (7.4 ± 2.2 MJ·d-1). Spearman correlation between both methods was 0.88(P < 0.001). Individual estimates of TEEHR ranged from-16.9% to +20.0%, with five TEEHR values within ± 10% of TEEDLW. It was concluded that also in children with low levels of daily physical activity, HR monitoring (preferably 3 sampling days) can provide a close group estimate of energy expenditure. At the individual level, the method is not suitable.
Departments of Movement Sciences and Human Biology, University of Limburg, Maastricht, THE NETHERLANDS
Submitted for publication December 1994.
Accepted for publication March 1995.
We wish to express our thanks to all the children and their parents who participated in this study and the staff of the children's rehabilitation center Franciscusoord (Valkenburg a/d Geul). We also thank Carola Leygraaf and Loek Wouters for their help during data collection and analysis.
Address for correspondence: Rita J. G. van den Berg-Emons, Department of Movement Sciences, University of Limburg, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands.