Oral Motor Impairments Contribute to Weight Status of Adults with Severe Cerebral Palsy

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Adults with severe cerebral palsy (CP) are susceptible to malnutrition and metabolic disorders due to limited daily physical activity and challenges related to eating. We hypothesized that the condition of being underweight arises from inadequate energy intake due to difficulties in eating, rather than heightened total energy expenditure or an elevated resting metabolic rate. The present study encompassed 17 adults with severe CP (classified as GMFSC III–V). Energy intake, utilization, and expenditure were gauged via thorough dietary recordings and double-labeled water (DLW) analyses. Resting metabolic rates were assessed through indirect calorimetry, and metabolic health was investigated via blood samples. Oral motor function, eating assessment during meals, and weight fluctuations throughout the experimental period were also evaluated. We found significant correlations between weight, oral impairments (p < 0.01), and eating difficulties (p < 0.05). While total energy expenditure and daily consumption were similar between underweight (UW) and overweight (OW) individuals, significant variability in both expenditure and intake was evident within the UW group. Particularly, those with lower BMIs experienced heightened mealtime impairments and complications. Our present findings indicate that eating difficulties are the central concern for UW status in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5042
Issue number24
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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© 2023 by the authors.

    Research areas

  • body weight, cerebral palsy, dietary registration, double-labeled water, energy balance, metabolic health status, oral motor impairment, resting metabolic rate

ID: 390821656