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Karsten Koehler, Thomas Abel, Birgit Wallmann-Sperlich, Annika Dreuscher and Volker Anneken

Background:

Inactivity and overweight are major health concerns in children and adolescents with disabilities. Methods for the assessment of activity and energy expenditure may be affected negatively by the underlying disability, especially when motor function is impaired. The purpose of this study was to assess the validity of the SenseWear Armband in adolescents with cerebral palsy and hemiparesis.

Methods:

Ten volunteers (age: 13.4 ± 1.6 years) were equipped with SenseWear Armbands on the hemiparetic and nonhemiparetic side of the body. Energy expenditure was measured at rest and during treadmill exercise (speed range: 0.85 to 2.35 m/s). Indirect calorimetry served as independent reference method.

Results:

The mean error was between −0.6 and 0.8 kcal/min and there were no significant differences between SenseWear and indirect calorimetry at any speed. Differences between body sides in expenditure (mean: −0.2 to 0.0 kcal/min) and step count (mean: −3.4 to 9.7 steps/min) were not significant.

Conclusions:

The validity of the SenseWear Armband does not appear to be negatively affected by cerebral palsy during laboratory treadmill exercise. Future field studies are necessary to assess the validity and practicability of energy expenditure and physical activity assessment in children and adolescents with physical disabilities.