Original article| Volume 95, ISSUE 9, P1646-1655, September 2014

Can a Lifestyle Intervention Improve Physical Fitness in Adolescents and Young Adults With Spastic Cerebral Palsy? A Randomized Controlled Trial



      To evaluate both the short- and long-term effectiveness of a lifestyle intervention on physical fitness in adolescents and young adults with cerebral palsy (CP).


      Single-blind, randomized controlled trial.


      University hospitals and rehabilitation clinics.


      Adolescents and young adults (N=57) with spastic CP classified in Gross Motor Function Classification System levels I through IV; of these, 42 completed the study.


      A 6-month lifestyle intervention consisting of physical fitness training combined with counseling sessions focused on physical behavior and sports participation.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Physical fitness, including measures of cardiopulmonary fitness, muscle strength, and body composition.


      Favorable short- and medium-term effects were found for peak oxygen consumption, oxygen consumption, and load on the anaerobic threshold and waist circumference. Favorable long-term effects were found for sum of skinfolds, systolic blood pressure, and total cholesterol.


      This exploratory study showed that the lifestyle intervention was effective in improving cardiopulmonary fitness and body composition. Effects of body composition were maintained in the long term. However, the intervention needs to be optimized to increase muscle strength and for long-term retention of effects on aerobic capacity.


      List of abbreviations:

      AT (anaerobic threshold), CP (cerebral palsy), CPET (cardiopulmonary exercise testing), GEE (generalized estimating equation), GMFCS (Gross Motor Function Classification System), PA (physical activity), Vo2peak (peak oxygen consumption)
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