Physical Therapy Publications


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

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Summer 2010


Pediatric Physical Therapy





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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.