Diet quality in adults with cerebral palsy: a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease prevention

Meagan C. Brown, Christina M. Marciniak*, Ariane M. Garrett, Deborah J. Gaebler-Spira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Aim: To assess diet quality and its relationship with cardiovascular health measures for adults with cerebral palsy (CP). Method: A convenience sample of 45 adults with CP (26 females, 19 males; mean age 35y 10mo [SD 14y 9mo]). were recruited for this cross-sectional study. Demographic, medical, and Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) information were obtained through in-person visits. Participants completed two 24-hour dietary recalls using the Automated Self-Administered 24-hour Dietary Assessment Tool. Specific macronutrient intake was compared to 2015 to 2020 US Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines. Other data included body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), blood pressure, and hemoglobin A1c (HgA1c;n=43). Results: Adults across GMFCS levels I to V were enrolled, 20 participants were in GMFCS levels IV or V. Mean calorie intake was 1777.91/day (SD 610.54), while sodium intake was 3261.75mg/day (SD 1484.92). Five participants met USDA vegetable and seven fruit guidelines. None met whole grain targets. Sixteen were overweight/obese by BMI. Sixteen participants without hypertension diagnoses had elevated blood pressure and nine had abnormal HgA1c without prediabetes/diabetes history. Percent calories from saturated fat was inversely associated with WHR in unadjusted and adjusted models (p=0.002 and p=0.003 respectively); all other dietary recommendations assessed (total calories, sodium, and sugar) were non-significant. Post hoc analyses were unchanged using 2020 to 2025 USDA guidelines. Interpretation: Assessment of nutrient intake and diet quality is feasible and warrants further study in adults with CP, as USDA guidelines are largely unmet. What this paper adds Adults with cerebral palsy (CP) do not meet US Department of Agriculture dietary quality recommendations. Prediabetes and hypertension may be common, but unrecognized, in adults with CP. Screening for nutrient intake and diet quality should be performed to facilitate nutritional counseling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1221-1228
Number of pages8
JournalDevelopmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Diet quality in adults with cerebral palsy: a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease prevention'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this