Background: Poor nutritional status is a problem in a high number of children with cerebral palsy (CP) and impairs their well-being. Therefore, periodic assessment of nutritional status and especially body composition is essential. However, we lack consensus on the best method to assess body composition in clinical practice. Objective: We aimed to systematically review the available evidence on the criterion validity of equation-based skinfold measurement and bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) to estimate body composition in children with CP. Methods: In a systematic review (MEDLINE, Cochrane Library and EMBASE), we identified studies that reported on the agreement between the estimation of body composition by equations of skinfold thickness or impedance values of BIA with a gold standard (isotope techniques or dual-energy-X-ray-absorptiometry [DXA]) in children with CP. We included only studies that provided correlations or agreement between estimations of body compartments (e.g., percentage body fat [%BF] or fat mass). Limits of agreement of 2.5%BF points were considered acceptable. Study quality was assessed by using the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies 2. Results: We included reports of 9 studies describing 3 skinfold equations and 4 equations to estimate body composition with BIA. Neither skinfold equations nor BIA could be reliably used to assess body composition in an individual child with CP at one point in time. On a population level, the Gurka skinfold equation was valid in ambulant children with CP, and the Kushner and Fjeld BIA equations were valid in a heterogeneous group of children with CP. Conclusions The future role of skinfold equations and BIA to assess and monitor body composition in an individual child with CP needs to be further investigated.
- Bioelectrical impedance analysis
- Cerebral palsy