Malnutrition frequency among cerebral palsy children: Differences in onset of nutritional intervention before or after the age of five years
ABSTRACT Objective To evaluate the frequency of malnutrition and food consumption of children with cerebral palsy according to the age at the beginning of speech and hearing rehabilitation treatment. Methods Two to eleven-year-old children diagnosed with cerebral palsy who had up to three months of speech-language and nutritional rehabilitation were included in two reference centers in Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil. The following measurement of the children were taken: weight, knee height, arm circumference and triceps skinfold. Weight, estimated height and body mass index were classified into Z-scores according to the World Health Organization curves. Brachial circumference, triceps skinfold and arm circumference were classified according to Frisancho. The 24-hour recall was used to calculate intake of calories, proteins, calcium, iron, vitamin A, and zinc using the NutriWin software. Results A total of 68 patients were evaluated. Children older than five had a higher frequency of malnutrition when weight (.=0.02) and arm circumference (.<0.001) were considered, although there was less triceps malnutrition (.=0.002). These also had lower calorie consumption per kg/day, protein/kg/day and calcium than the younger children. Conclusion The greatest nutritional impairment after the age of five suggests that nutritional and speech therapy interventions could have a greater effect if they were performed before that age.