We aimed to estimate the burden and underlying risk factors of malnutrition among children and adolescents with cerebral palsy in Arabic-speaking countries.
OVID Medline, OVID Embase, CINAHL via EBSCO, Cochrane Library, and SCOPUS databases were searched up to 3 July 2021. Publications were reviewed to identify relevant papers following pre-defined inclusion/exclusion criteria. Two reviewers independently assessed the studies for inclusion. Data extraction was independently completed by two reviewers. Descriptive and pooled analysis has been reported.
From a total of 79 records screened, nine full-text articles were assessed for eligibility, of which seven studies met the inclusion criteria. Study characteristics, anthropometric measurements used, and nutritional outcome reported varied between the studies. The included studies contained data of total 400 participants aged 1-18 years. Overall, (mean: 71.46%, 95% confidence interval: 55.52-85.04) of children with cerebral palsy had at least one form of malnutrition. Severe gross motor function limitation, feeding difficulties, cognitive impairment and inadequate energy intake were the commonly reported underlying risk factors for malnutrition among children with cerebral palsy.
The burden of malnutrition is high among children with cerebral palsy in Arabic-speaking countries. More research is needed for better understanding of this public health issue in these countries.