(HealthDay News)  Adults with cerebral palsy may be able to reduce declines in muscle strength, improve function, and reduce cardiovascular and metabolic disease by avoiding sedentary behavior and engaging in physical activity, according to a study published online Oct 23 in Obesity Reviews.

Mark D Peterson, PhD, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues describe the impact of early muscle wasting, obesity, and lifestyle intervention on premature declines in function among adults with cerebral palsy, noting that premature decline is usually attributed to weakness, spasticity, orthopedic abnormalities, chronic pain, and fatigue.

The researchers note that the extent of atrophy and weakness in adults with cerebral palsy is likely influenced by the degree of sedentary behavior, which greatly increases their risk of cardiometabolic disease, early mortality, premature sarcopenia, and functional deterioration. The decline in strength is strongly associated with declines in functional capacity, and further declines can be avoided by early detection and physical activity. The authors suggest that reducing sedentary behavior is the best first line of defense against many of the secondary comorbidities.

“In conjunction with the standard physical and occupational therapies prescribed for managing gait/mobility deficits, spasticity and range-of-motion in this population, participation in physical activity and progressive exercise is absolutely vital to prevent secondary muscle pathology and cardiometabolic comorbidity throughout adulthood,” Peterson and colleagues conclude.

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