Growth and nutrition disorders in children with cerebral palsy.

Growth and nutrition disorders are common secondary health conditions in children with cerebral palsy (CP). Poor growth and malnutrition in CP merit study because of their impact on health, including psychological and physiological function, healthcare utilization, societal participation, motor function, and survival. Understanding the etiology of poor growth has led to a variety of interventions to improve growth. One of the major causes of poor growth, malnutrition, is the best-studied contributor to poor growth; scientific evidence regarding malnutrition has contributed to improvements in clinical management and, in turn, survival over the last 20 years. Increased recognition and understanding of neurological, endocrinological, and environmental factors have begun to shape care for children with CP, as well. The investigation of these factors relies on advances made in the assessment methods available to address the challenges inherent in measuring growth in children with CP. Descriptive growth charts and norms of body composition provide information that may help clinicians to interpret growth and intervene to improve growth and nutrition in children with CP. Linking growth to measures of health will be necessary to develop growth standards for children with CP in order to optimize health and well-being.