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Description of Exercise Participation of Adolescents With Cerebral Palsy Across a 4-Year Period

Brunton, Laura K. BKin, MSc; Bartlett, Doreen J. PT, PhD

Pediatric Physical Therapy:
doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e3181db8aaa
Research Report

Purpose: The purposes of this study were to describe (1) the types of exercise participation of adolescents with cerebral palsy; (2) the weekly duration of stretching, strengthening, and cardiovascular exercise; (3) how the level of activity compares with national health guidelines; and (4) the change in participation over 4 years.

Methods: Participants included 126 males and 104 females (mean age = 14.7 years, SD = 1.7 years) who reported physical activities in the previous week. Analyses included frequency counts and proportions, stacked bar graphs, and 2-way analyses of variance of exercise participation by Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) and sex.

Results: A significant main effect of GMFCS level was detected for light and moderate exercise. A significant interaction of GMFCS level and sex was found for stretching; females stretched more. An average of 9.4% and 11.4% of our sample participated in weekly levels of moderate and vigorous exercise, respectively.

Conclusions: Pediatric physical therapists should promote increased exercise participation rates among youths with cerebral palsy.

In Brief

In this study the authors found that low numbers of adolescents with CP participated in “moderate” and “vigorous” exercise on a weekly basis and that their participation levels declined over a 4-year period. The authors urge pediatric physical therapists to promote increased exercise participation among youth with CP.

Author Information

School of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

Correspondence: Doreen Bartlett, PT, PhD, 1588 Elborn College, The School of Physical Therapy, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6G 1H1 (

Grant Support: This study was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research grant CIHR MOP-53258.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.