Retrospective data on growth and cross-sectional data on growth outcome, anthropometric measurements and energy intake have been analysed according to the presence or absence of feeding problems in 42 children with cerebral palsy (CP) between 1 and 13 years of age. The mean age for boys and girls was 5.1 and 5.9 years, respectively. The study revealed a high frequency of feeding problems (50%) and growth retardation (48%) in the group. The results of weight for height, triceps skinfold thickness and energy intake indicate that 15% of the children were undernourished at the time of study. The cross-sectional analyses showed that children with feeding problems at the time of study (n = 22) had significantly lower height for age, weight for height, triceps skinfold thickness and upper-arm circumference than children without problems (P less than 0.05). Children with feeding problems also tended to have lower energy intake, but the differences were not significant. The feeding problems were most frequent among the severely disabled children. This study has shown that the presence of feeding problems is one important predictor of low growth outcome in children with CP. When parents report on feeding problems, feeding evaluation, training and nutritional intervention should be offered immediately. This is important for alleviating the heavy care-load for parents and health-workers and for some children it may be necessary to maintain an acceptable nutritional state.
This study describes the nutritional intake, growth, and early food habits of 10 Norwegian children born deaf and blind. They were 1 girl and 9 boys aged 8 to 23 years. A 4-day dietary record, anthropometric measurements, and interviews with the parents were obtained. The children had energy intakes below or in the lower range of the reference values given in the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs). Intakes of vitamins and minerals were acceptable when supplements were taken into account. Despite low physical activity, all pupils were thin. The interviews with the parents revealed early and serious feeding problems that arose at weaning. At the same time, growth retardation was registered for a majority of the pupils. All pupils were described as strikingly thin while growing up. We conclude that the early feeding problems were so pronounced that malnutrition may be considered a contributing factor to the growth retardation.