Greater Visceral Fat but No Difference in Measures of Total Body Fat in Ambulatory Children With Spastic Cerebral Palsy Compared to Typically Developing Children.

Academic Article


  • BACKGROUND: Individuals with cerebral palsy (CP) are at increased risk for obesity and obesity-related complications. Studies of total body fat in those with CP are inconsistent and studies of abdominal fat are lacking in children with CP. The objective of this study was to determine if ambulatory children with spastic CP have greater central adiposity compared to typically developing children. METHODOLOGY: Eighteen ambulatory children with spastic CP (n = 5 girls; 8.6 ± 2.9 yr) and 18 age-, sex-, and race-matched typically developing children (controls; 8.9 ± 2.1 yr) participated in this cross-sectional study. Children with CP were classified as I or II using the Gross Motor Function Classification System. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry assessed body composition, including total body, trunk and abdominal fat mass, fat-free mass, fat mass index (FMI), and fat-free mass index (FFMI). RESULTS: There were no group differences in fat mass, fat-free mass, FMI, and FFMI in the total body, fat mass, fat-free mass, and FFMI in the trunk, or fat mass, visceral fat mass, and subcutaneous fat mass in the abdomen (p > 0.05). Compared to controls, children with CP had higher trunk FMI, abdominal FMI, and visceral FMI (p < 0.05). Although marginally insignificant (p = 0.088), children with CP had higher subcutaneous FMI. CONCLUSIONS: Ambulatory children with spastic CP have elevated central adiposity, especially in the visceral region, despite no differences in measures of total body fat. How this relates to cardiometabolic disease progression in those with CP requires further investigation.
  • Published In


  • Cerebral palsy, abdominal fat, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, subcutaneous fat, visceral fat, Abdominal Fat, Adipose Tissue, Body Composition, Case-Control Studies, Cerebral Palsy, Child, Child, Preschool, Female, Humans, Intra-Abdominal Fat, Male, Subcutaneous Fat
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Whitney DG; Singh H; Zhang C; Miller F; Modlesky CM
  • Start Page

  • 459
  • End Page

  • 464
  • Volume

  • 23
  • Issue

  • 3