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Lifelong Fitness in Ambulatory Children and Adolescents with Cerebral Palsy I: Key Ingredients for Bone and Muscle Health

Journal Article
Noelle G Moreau, Kathleen M Friel, Robyn K Fuchs, Sudarshan Dayanidhi, Theresa Sukal-Moulton, Marybeth Grant-Beuttler, Mark D Peterson, Richard D Stevenson, Susan V Duff
Year Published: 
Behav Sci (Basel) . 2023 Jun 28;13(7):539. doi: 10.3390/bs13070539.
PMID: 37503986 | PMCID: PMC10376586 | DOI: 10.3390/bs13070539
Full Text on PMC


Physical activity of a sufficient amount and intensity is essential to health and the prevention of a sedentary lifestyle in all children as they transition into adolescence and adulthood. While fostering a fit lifestyle in all children can be challenging, it may be even more so for those with cerebral palsy (CP). Evidence suggests that bone and muscle health can improve with targeted exercise programs for children with CP. Yet, it is not clear how musculoskeletal improvements are sustained into adulthood. In this perspective, we introduce key ingredients and guidelines to promote bone and muscle health in ambulatory children with CP (GMFCS I-III), which could lay the foundation for sustained fitness and musculoskeletal health as they transition from childhood to adolescence and adulthood. First, one must consider crucial characteristics of the skeletal and muscular systems as well as key factors to augment bone and muscle integrity. Second, to build a better foundation, we must consider critical time periods and essential ingredients for programming. Finally, to foster the sustainability of a fit lifestyle, we must encourage commitment and self-initiated action while ensuring the attainment of skill acquisition and function. Thus, the overall objective of this perspective paper is to guide exercise programming and community implementation to truly alter lifelong fitness in persons with CP.

Conditions & Recovery

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Worldwide, over 24 million children and adults are living with CP.