Children with cerebral palsy (CP) demonstrate reduced physical activity levels compared with children with typical development. Sedentary behavior, including the duration and frequency of sedentary bouts, has not yet been objectively examined in this population but may have clinical implications for the development of secondary health complications.
The aim of this study was to identify time spent sedentary and frequency of breaks interrupting sedentary time in youth with CP compared with youth without CP. It was hypothesized that individuals with CP would spend more hours sedentary than their peers and take fewer breaks to interrupt sedentary time.
This was a cross-sectional, prospective study.
A convenience sample of 17 ambulatory children with CP (15 boys and 2 girls) (mean age=13.0 years, SD=2.2) and 17 age-, sex-, and season-matched youth who were developing typically (TD group) (mean age=12.9 years, SD=2.5) wore an accelerometer over a 7-day period. Sedentary time (in minutes) and number of breaks from sedentary time, corrected for monitoring and sedentary time, respectively, were examined. Differences between groups were determined with an independent-samples t test.
Children with CP engaged in significantly more sedentary time (X̅=47.5 min/h, SD=4.9) compared with the TD group (X̅=43.6 min/h, SD=4.2), with significantly fewer breaks from sedentary time (CP group: X̅=179, SD=70; TD group: X̅=232 breaks/h sedentary, SD=61).
The sample included only ambulatory youth with CP, classified as Gross Motor Function Classification System levels I to III.
Sedentary time was higher in the CP group and was characterized by less frequent breaks compared with the TD group. Future research should examine the extent to which sedentary time is associated with cardiovascular and metabolic risk in youth with CP.