Next Article in Journal
A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of a Partial Meal Replacement Preconception Weight Loss Program for Women with Overweight and Obesity
Previous Article in Journal
Milk Exosomes Transfer Oligosaccharides into Macrophages to Modulate Immunity and Attenuate Adherent-Invasive E. coli (AIEC) Infection
Previous Article in Special Issue
Nutritional Status of Adolescent Afghan Refugees Living in Peshawar, Pakistan

Burden of Malnutrition among Children and Adolescents with Cerebral Palsy in Arabic-Speaking Countries: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Public Health Authority, Riyadh 13354, Saudi Arabia
The Children’s Hospital at Westmead Clinical School, The University of Sydney, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia
CSF Global, Dhaka 1212, Bangladesh
Asian Institute of Disability and Development, University of South Asia, Dhaka 1213, Bangladesh
School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, QLD 4701, Australia
Cerebral Palsy Alliance, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2050, Australia
Department of Family and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine in Rabigh, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah 22252, Saudi Arabia
Department of Physiotherapy, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Jordan, Amman 11942, Jordan
Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity, School of Biological Sciences and Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia
Grace Centre for Newborn Intensive Care, Sydney Children’s Hospital Network, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia
Discipline of Child and Adolescent Health, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2145, Australia
Central Queensland Public Health Unit, Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service, Rockhampton, QLD 4700, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Gulam Khandaker
Nutrients 2021, 13(9), 3199;
Received: 25 July 2021 / Revised: 3 September 2021 / Accepted: 6 September 2021 / Published: 15 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutritional Status among Vulnerable Populations)


Background: We aimed to estimate the burden and underlying risk factors of malnutrition among children and adolescents with cerebral palsy in Arabic-speaking countries. Methods: 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. Results: 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. Conclusions: 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.
Keywords: Arabic-speaking countries; malnutrition; children; adolescents; cerebral palsy Arabic-speaking countries; malnutrition; children; adolescents; cerebral palsy

1. Introduction

Cerebral palsy (CP) is considered as one of the leading causes of motor disability among children and adolescents [1]. Malnutrition is defined as a person’s energy and/or nutritional consumption being deficient, excessive, or unbalanced. Malnutrition has a broad definition that refers to two types of problem. First, stunting (low height for age), wasting (low weight for height), underweight (low weight for age), and micronutrient deficiencies or insufficiencies are some of the symptoms of undernutrition (a lack of important vitamins and minerals). Second, overweight, obesity, and noncommunicable diseases linked to diet are the other two (such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer) [2]. Malnutrition can be seen as a secondary health issue that can impact on the overall health and well-being of children with CP and their families [3]. It occurs when food intake falls short of the requirements for normal body functions, causing growth and development problems [4]. Malnutrition must be diagnosed, prevented, and managed early in children’s lives because growth and development depend on optimum nutritional intake. Malnutrition in children with a chronic condition such as CP is caused by various factors, including the underlying disorder and non-illness-related factors such as increased caloric demands, malabsorption, altered nutrient use, and nutrient provision limits due to fluid status and/or feeding tolerance [5].
There are many ways to evaluate malnutrition and related risk factors among children, including, but not limited to, standard anthropometric measures like weight and its percentile, height and its percentile, body mass index (BMI), waist, head, and arm circumferences. Other measurements that could be used are total body water, fat mass, triceps fold thickness, z-score, and biochemical parameters such as hemoglobin, ferritin, and albumin [4,6].
Despite differences among Arabic-speaking countries (ASCs) (Table 1) in the quality of health care provided, they share many common customs in relation to cultural, social, and food habits. Regardless of these similarities and differences, children with CP are equally vulnerable to malnutrition, yet the burden of malnutrition among children and adolescents with CP in these countries has not been quantified through a systematic review.
Because of the dearth of knowledge regarding the nutritional status of children with CP from ASCs, and to advance the global knowledge base on this crucial issue, we aimed to estimate the burden and underlying risk factors of malnutrition among children and adolescents with CP in the ASCs based on available published literature, to facilitate evidence-based medicine. We realize the need for systematic data collection and reporting of the limited available studies. In this review, therefore, we focused on summarizing the available information regarding the size of the problem and its causes, despite the scarcity of available resources that could be used to conduct large scale studies and nutrition intervention in a similar context.

2. Materials and Methods

For this review, we followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines on conducting systematic reviews, including the 27-item checklist [7,8].

2.1. Data Sources and Search Strategy

We identified 22 countries whose official language is Arabic [9]. One author (C.K.) searched the following bibliographic databases—OVID Medline (1946–25 June 2021), OVID Embase (1947–1 July 2021), CINAHL via EBSCO (1982–July 2021), Cochrane Library Database of Systematic Reviews (Issue 7 of 12, 2021), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (Issue 7 of 12, 2021) and SCOPUS (1788–July 2021) to find publications on nutritional status among children and adolescents with CP in ASCs. The final search was completed on 3 July 2021. No language or date limits were applied to ensure maximum retrieval.
The search used controlled vocabulary terms including ‘Cerebral Palsy’, ‘Nutritional status’, ‘Nutritional Sciences’, ‘Malnutrition’, ‘Thinness’, ‘Growth disorders’, ‘Cachexia’, ‘Body Mass Index’, ‘Overweight,’ ‘Obesity’, “Infant Newborn, ‘Infant’, ’Child Preschool’, ‘Child’ and ‘Adolescent’. These were used with corresponding text-word terms. Text-word terms were truncated where necessary to include all relevant term endings. The search terms were combined with the individual country list terms provided in Table 1. The Ovid Medline search strategy used is provided in Appendix A.

2.2. Study Selection and Inclusion

Study selection was completed following a pre-set eligibility criteria developed by three reviewers (G.K., S.M., & S.M.M.). The inclusion criteria were as follows: (1) studies reported original observations (from observational and analytical study design); (2) study participants were children and/or adolescents with CP aged up to 18 years in ASCs; and (3) studies reported malnutrition (i.e., underweight, or overweight) as an outcome or in the background characteristics.
The exclusion criteria were as follows: (1) studies reporting a single case, case series, non-observational studies (e.g., systematic reviews, narrative reviews, scoping reviews), conference reports/posters, (2) study participants were only malnourished children or adults with CP, (3) conducted in non-Arabic speaking countries.
Two reviewers, (S.M.M. and G.K.) independently reviewed the identified studies and disagreements were resolved by a third reviewer (I.J.) by consensus. The review protocol has been registered in PROSPERO (registration number: CRD42021244171——accessed on 27 July 2021).

2.3. Risk of Bias Assessment

We assessed the selected studies to identify risk of bias using the Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale (NOS) [10]. The assessment was completed by the first author (S.M.M.) with support of an external reviewer (H.B.). Results of individual studies included in this review are shown in Table 2. All seven articles included in this review displayed good quality in all three areas of the assessment (i.e., selection, comparability, and outcome). None of the studies were excluded due to poor quality at this stage as all of them met the standard thresholds for inclusion.

2.4. Data Extraction

Data extraction was completed in an Excel templated developed by the first author (S.M.M.) in consultation with another two reviewers (G.K. and I.J.). Two reviewers (R.S. and I.J.) completed data extraction from all seven studies independently. Any differences identified were resolved following discussion with a third reviewer (G.K.). As the most commonly utilized method reported in the studies was anthropometric measurements, the following were extracted as available: (i) study characteristics (citation, implementation country, study settings, study design, study participants, samples size, age and gender, study duration), (ii) outcome measures/measurements used (anthropometric, biochemical, others), (iii) outcome reported (malnutrition proportions and significantly associated risk factors). If any information was unavailable, then it was documented as ‘not reported’.

2.5. Data Analysis

Descriptive information (e.g., study characteristics and outcome measures) were presented in table format. The rate of malnutrition was reported as documented in the original study. Factors related to malnutrition reported in individual studies were also summarized, but the effect size could not be estimated due to lack of consistent data. Furthermore, a forest plot and a funnel plot showing the proportion (with 95% confidence interval (CI)) of at least one form of malnutrition as reported in individual studies were constructed. For studies where malnutrition rate was reported for multiple indicators, the highest proportion was included. For meta-analysis, we used MedCalc® Statistical Software version 20.009 (MedCalc Software Ltd., Ostend, Belgium;; accessed on 20 July 2021). To investigate the heterogeneity we used a random effect model in the analysis. Heterogeneity was considered mild if I2 < 30%, moderate if I2 = 30–50%, and notable if I2 > 50%.

3. Results

3.1. Study Characteristics and Participants

A total of 79 titles were identified from the databases following the search strategy described above. After deduplication using EndNoteX9 citation manager and a manual re-check, 50 primary studies were identified of which 41 irrelevant studies were excluded and nine studies were eligible for full-text review. Following consensus among the reviewers, seven articles were selected for inclusion and data extraction. The details have been summarized in Figure 1.
Table 3 summarizes the characteristics of the included studies (n = 7). The studies were published between 1984 and 2021 and in English language [4,11,12,13,14,15,16]. Most of the studies included were from Saudi Arabia (n = 4) [4,11,12,16], and the remaining were from Egypt (n = 1) [13], United Arab Emirates (n = 1) [14], and Jordan (n = 1) [15]. The study designs of the included studies were cross-sectional (n = 5) [4,11,13,14,15], retrospective record review (n = 1) [12], and in one study the design was not clearly mentioned [16]. Five studies were hospital/institution-based [4,12,13,15,16], one was school-based [11] and one was a population-based study [14]. Studies differed in terms of duration, sample size, causes of malnutrition, assessment measures used, and nutritional indicators reported.
Overall, two studies were conducted among children with CP only [4,12], whereas, the remaining studies included children with CP as part of a larger cohort of children with disability (n = 2) [12,15], special needs (n = 1) [11], or compared with control groups (n = 2) [13,15]. The total of 400 pooled participants ranged from 12 to 119 children with CP in each study, whose age ranged between 1–18.4 years. Male-female numbers/percentages were available for five of seven studies, which ranged between 47% to 58.3% males, and 41% to 53% females.

3.2. Measurements Used for Nutritional Assessment

Among reported nutritional assessment indicators used, all studies used at least one standard anthropometric measurement tool. Most commonly reported indicators were percentiles/z-scores for weight-for-age (n = 3) [4,12,13], height for age (n = 2) [4,13], and BMI/BMI-for-age (n = 3) [4,11,14]. Additionally, body composition and biochemical tests were reported in one study [13] as an indicator for nutritional status. The nutritional indicators reported in the included studies have been summarized in Table 4.

3.3. Malnutrition Rate among Children with CP

Out of a total N = 952 participants in the included studies, n = 400 were children with CP and were eligible for estimation of the pooled prevalence of malnutrition. However, the proportion of at least one form of malnutrition among children with CP was reported in n = 6 studies [4,11,12,13,14,16] whereas the mean (SD) nutritional indicator was reported in n = 2 studies [14,15]. The pooled estimates suggest that 48.84–91.67% children with CP in the included studies had at least one form of malnutrition (pooled prevalence of 71.46%, 95% CI: 55.52–85.04, p < 0.0001). Moderate to severe underweight was most frequently reported (n = 4) and ranged between 7%–84.9% among the participating children with CP [4,11,12,13]. Being overweight was reported in n = 3 studies and ranged between 2.5–25% [11,12,14] (Table 5, Figure 2 and Figure 3).

3.4. Underlying Risk Factors of Malnutrition

Five out of seven included studies reported the factors related to malnutrition among children with CP in ASCs [4,11,12,13,14]. Overall, malnutrition was found higher among children with moderate-severe gross motor function limitation (e.g., GMFCS level III–V) [13,15], oro-motor dysfunction/feeding difficulties [12,13], with traumatic dental injury, caries and medical complications [11,12]. Furthermore, older age of the child, presence of cognitive impairment and inadequate energy intake were reported as contributing factors to malnutrition among children with CP in one study [4].

3.5. Study Quality and Heterogeneity

The symmetrical funnel plot in Figure 3 revealed that there was no substantial publication bias in the meta-analysis (Figure 2) for the proportion of malnutrition estimates against corresponding standard error. However, there is a high clinical heterogeneity (I2 = 88.40%) as the included studies did not use uniform measurements of malnutrition.

4. Discussion

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first systematic review reporting the burden of malnutrition and its underlying risk factors among children and adolescents with CP in ASCs. In our review we observed that the burden of malnutrition among children with CP in ASCs is obviously understudied. Although we included all 22 countries during our detailed search, the results yielded studies from only four countries. Furthermore, most studies were conducted in institution-based settings (e.g., hospitals, health care facilities, schools) limiting the opportunities to generalize the findings. This indicates an urgent need for more medical research on this crucial issue, especially in the setting of low-to-middle income countries (LMIC). Although most of the ASCs are classified as low or middle income, with the exception of the Gulf countries [17], among the included studies in our review only two (out of seven) were from LMIC settings (e.g., Egypt, Jordan) [13,15]. More research is needed to investigate the factors that contribute to this evidence gap.
The indicators used/type of malnutrition reported varied substantially between the studies and sufficient data were not available to estimate the pooled prevalence of different types of malnutrition (e.g., underweight, stunting, overweight, wasting, etc.). Hence, we reported the pooled proportion of at least one form of malnutrition among participating children with CP in the Arabic-speaking countries. Nevertheless, the overall malnutrition rate was high among children with CP in ASCs, especially when compared to children without CP.
Being underweight was the most commonly reported form of malnutrition, although the proportions varied substantially between countries. However, when compared to other institution-based studies, the proportion of undernutrition was higher in Arabic-speaking LMICs (e.g., Egypt) than non-Arabic-speaking LMICs (e.g., Vietnam and Argentina) [18,19,20]. We also observed a wide range of overweight/obesity among the participating children in the included studies.
Malnutrition in children with disabilities, including CP, could be due to several interlinked underlying risk factors which varies from one population to another [20]. Only a few of the included studies reported the underlying factors, of which gross motor function and feeding difficulties were predominant [12,13,15]. Although we could not measure the effect size of these underlying factors on malnutrition rate, due to the heterogeneity in the reported data (I2 = 84.40%), it is known that gross motor function significantly affects nutritional status and is closely related to the presence and severity of feeding difficulties among children with CP [21,22]. Children with higher gross motor impairment therefore require careful evaluation and nutritional intervention to improve their nutritional as well as functional outcome [20]. One study also reported inadequate energy intake as an influencing factor of malnutrition among the participating children [4]. This relationship is straightforward, but the reason for lack of energy consumption could be due to clinical factors or lack of access to resources. All these findings indicate that there is an urgent need to generate robust data to identify the modifiable causes and a potential practical intervention relating to these crucial issues among children with CP in ASCs. Malnutrition among children with CP is a major concern. It is often associated with a number of other comorbidities. Iron deficiency anaemia (IDA), renal impairment, auditory and visual deficiency, low bone mineral density, poor growth, and infections have been reported in previous studies [4,12,14,15,16,23].
This review has some limitations which are evident in the small number of studies (seven for 22 countries), so not all countries are represented. Thence, we did not exclude any studies based on the CP definition. However, for outcome measures such as undernutrition or overnutrition, we used standard criteria. For instance, underweight was defined as a child’s weight-for-age being ≤2SD or 15th percentile.
Although we conducted a comprehensive search, the number of studies identified was very small, indicating that there is a large gap in the evidence in ASCs in this regard. This is one of the main reasons why this review assesses and maps the existing evidence to generate comprehensive data on the nutritional status of children with CP in ASCs.
In addition, there was high clinical heterogeneity, non-uniform anthropometric measurements, and the age group ranged up to 18.4 years in one study [14], although one of the inclusion criteria was up to 18 years old. The included studies were mostly conducted in institution-based settings, hence the pooled estimates are not generalizable. We could not estimate the effect size of different underlying factors on nutritional status of children with CP in ASCs, although this was one of our study objectives. Furthermore, malnutrition can take several forms, including underweight and/or overweight. However, because anthropometric measurements are the most commonly used method, and the majority of studies reporting nutritional status of children used those terminologies, we only focused on nutritional status reported based on anthropometric measurements. Nevertheless, the strength of this review is that it is a uniquely novel systematic review and meta-analysis on an under-researched theme. It addresses a very important public health issue involving children with disability-like CP. All of the studies included are of good quality with a symmetrical funnel plot.

5. Conclusions

Malnutrition in children and adolescents with disabilities and/or CP is an existing problem in ASCs but there is a dearth of medical research. Focused research is needed to fill the large evidence gap and identify need-based effective nutrition intervention for children with CP in these countries.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, G.K. and S.M.M.; methodology, G.K. and C.K.; software, S.M.M. and I.J.; validation, G.K., S.M.M. and I.J.; formal analysis, I.J.; data curation, R.S.; writing—original draft preparation, S.M.M.; writing—review and editing, G.K., H.R., N.A.A., C.K. and A.-M.B.; visualization, S.M.M.; supervision, G.K., S.M., H.R. and N.B. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


This research received no external funding.

Institutional Review Board Statement

Not applicable.

Informed Consent Statement

Not applicable.


We would like to thank Hamid Bokhary [H.B.] (Umm Al-Qura University Medical Center, Makkah, Saudi Arabia) for his participation in risk of bias assessment and Ibrahim Hadadi [I.H.] for his help in meta-analysis.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


Ovid MEDLINE(R) ALL <1946 to 25 June 2021>.

Appendix A

Ovid MEDLINE search strategy:
Table A1. Search Strategy.
Table A1. Search Strategy.
1exp Cerebral Palsy/
2(cerebral adj pals$).tw.
41 or 2 or 3
5exp Nutritional Status/
6exp Nutritional Sciences/
8exp Malnutrition/
9(malnutrition$ or malnourish$).tw.
12exp Thinness/
13(thin$ or lean$ or underweight$).tw.
14exp Growth Disorders/
15(grow$ adj5 disorder$).tw.
17exp Cachexia/
18(cachexia$ or wasting or wasted).tw.
19exp Body Mass Index/
20(“body mass index$” or BMI).tw.
21“anthropometric measur$”.tw.
22exp Overweight/
23exp Obesity/
24(overweight or obese or obesit$).tw.
255 or 6 or 7 or 8 or 9 or 10 or 11 or 12 or 13 or 14 or 15 or 16 or 17 or 18 or 19 or 20 or 21 or 22 or 23 or 24
264 and 25
27exp Jordan/
29exp United Arab Emirates/
32exp Bahrain/
34exp Tunisia/
36exp Algeria/
38exp Djibouti/
40exp Saudi Arabia/
41(saudi adj1 arabia$).tw.
42exp Sudan/
44exp Syria/
46exp Somalia/
48exp Iraq/
50exp Oman/
53exp Qatar/
55exp Comoros/
57exp Kuwait/
59exp Lebanon/
61exp Libya/
63exp Egypt/
65exp Morocco/
67exp Mauritania/
69exp Yemen/
71exp Arabs/
72(arab$ adj4 (speak$ or countr$ or world)).tw.
7327 or 28 or 29 or 30 or 31 or 32 or 33 or 34 or 35 or 36 or 37 or 38 or 39 or 40 or 41 or 42 or 43 or 44 or 45 or 46 or 47 or 48 or 49 or 50 or 51 or 52 or 53 or 54 or 55 or 56 or 57 or 58 or 59 or 60 or 61 or 62 or 63 or 64 or 65 or 66 or 67 or 68 or 69 or 70 or 71 or 72
7426 and 73
75limit 74 to "all child (0 to 18 years)"
76exp Infant, Newborn/
77exp Infant/
78exp Child, Preschool/
79exp Child/
80exp Adolescent/
81(baby or babies or infant$ or toddler$ or child$ or adolescen$ or pediatric$ or pediatric$).tw.
8276 or 77 or 78 or 79 or 80 or 81
8374 and 82
8475 or 83


  1. Mushta, S.M.; Khandaker, G.; Power, R.; Badawi, N. Cerebral Palsy in the Middle East: Epidemiology, Management, and Quality of Life. In Handbook of Healthcare in the Arab World; Laher, I., Ed.; Springer: Cham, Switzerland, 2019. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  2. Malnutrition. Available online: (accessed on 23 June 2021).
  3. Kuperminc, M.; Stevenson, R. Growth and nutrition disorders in children with cerebral palsy. Dev. Disabil. Res. Rev. 2008, 14, 137–146. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  4. Almuneef, A.; Almajwal, A.; Alam, I.; Abulmeaty, M.; Bader, B.; Badr, M.; Almuammar, M.; Razak, S. Malnutrition is common in children with cerebral palsy in Saudi Arabia—A cross-sectional clinical observational study. BMC Neurol. 2019, 19, 317. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. Larson-Nath, C.; Goday, P. Malnutrition in Children with Chronic Disease. Nutr. Clin. Pract. 2019, 34, 349–358. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  6. Wong, S.; Graham, A.; Harini, S.; Grimble, G.; Forbes, A. Profile and prevalence of malnutrition in children with spinal cord injuries—Assessment of the Screening Tool for Assessment of Malnutrition in Paediatrics (STAMP). Spinal Cord 2011, 50, 67–71. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  7. Page, M.; McKenzie, J.; Bossuyt, P.; Boutron, I.; Hoffmann, T.; Mulrow, C.; Shamseer, L.; Tetzlaff, J.; Akl, E.; Brennan, S.; et al. The PRISMA 2020 statement: An updated guideline for reporting systematic reviews. BMJ 2021, 372, n71. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  8. Page, M.; Moher, D.; Bossuyt, P.; Boutron, I.; Hoffmann, T.; Mulrow, C.; Shamseer, L.; Tetzlaff, J.; Akl, E.; Brennan, S.; et al. PRISMA 2020 explanation and elaboration: Updated guidance and exemplars for reporting systematic reviews. BMJ 2021, 372, n160. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  9. Member States, the League of Arab States. Available online: (accessed on 24 May 2021).
  10. Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. Available online: (accessed on 22 June 2021).
  11. Mohamed, R.; Basha, S.; Al-Thomali, Y.; AlZahrani, F.; Ashour, A.; Almutair, N. Association Between Dental Caries and Obesity among Children with Special Health Care Needs. Oral Health Prev. Dent. 2021, 19, 101–106. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  12. Al-Blowi, A.; Al-Mutairi, R.; Ghabbany, R.; Manaa, A.; Aloufi, M.; Ternati, G.; Al-Raddady, B.; Al-Rufai, A. The prevalence of malnutrition and the nutritional status in children with cerebral palsy and its causes in Madinah Maternity and Children Hospital. Curr. Pediatr. Res. 2020, 24, 273–280. [Google Scholar]
  13. Tomoum, H.; Badawy, N.; Hassan, N.; Alian, K. Anthropometry and body composition analysis in children with cerebral palsy. Clin. Nutr. 2010, 29, 477–481. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  14. Larin, H.; Bell, P.; Duncan, C.; Shahin, M. Bone mineral density of children with physical disabilities in the United Arab Emirates: A feasibility study. Emir. Med. J. 2007, 25, 39–47. [Google Scholar]
  15. Ibrahim, A.; Hawamdeh, Z. Evaluation of physical growth in cerebral palsied children and its possible relationship with gross motor development. Int. J. Rehabil. Res. 2007, 30, 47–54. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  16. Al-Ghamdi, Y.; Omer, M.; Khalil, M.; Ali, S.; Barmada, R.; Abdelgader, M. Clinical evaluation of disabled children in Al-Qassim region, Saudi Arabia. Neurosciences 2002, 7, 272–277. [Google Scholar] [PubMed]
  17. World Bank Country and Lending Groups—World Bank Data Help Desk. Available online: (accessed on 28 May 2021).
  18. Karim, T.; Jahan, I.; Dossetor, R.; Giang, N.; Van Anh, N.; Dung, T.; Chau, C.; Van Bang, N.; Badawi, N.; Khandaker, G.; et al. Nutritional Status of Children with Cerebral Palsy—Findings from Prospective Hospital-Based Surveillance in Vietnam Indicate a Need for Action. Nutrients 2019, 11, 2132. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  19. Ruiz Brunner, M.; Cieri, M.; Rodriguez Marco, M.; Schroeder, A.; Cuestas, E. Nutritional status of children with cerebral palsy attending rehabilitation centers. Dev. Med. Child Neurol. 2020, 62, 1383–1388. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  20. Aggarwal, S.; Chadha, R.; Pathak, R. Nutritional status and growth in children with cerebral palsy: A review. Int. J. Med. Sci. Public Health 2015, 4, 737. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  21. Herrera-Anaya, E.; Angarita-Fonseca, A.; Herrera-Galindo, V.; Martínez-Marín, R.; Rodríguez-Bayona, C. Association between gross motor function and nutritional status in children with cerebral palsy: A cross-sectional study from Colombia. Dev. Med. Child Neurol. 2016, 58, 936–941. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  22. Benfer, K.; Weir, K.; Bell, K.; Ware, R.; Davies, P.; Boyd, R. Oropharyngeal Dysphagia and Gross Motor Skills in Children with Cerebral Palsy. Pediatrics 2013, 131, e1553–e1562. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  23. Omar, O.; Assem, H.; Ahmed, D.; Abd Elmaksoud, M. Lactoferrin versus iron hydroxide polymaltose complex for the treatment of iron deficiency anemia in children with cerebral palsy: A randomized controlled trial. Eur. J. Pediatrics 2021, 180, 2609–2618. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Figure 1. PRISMA flow diagram for a systematic literature review on malnutrition among children and adolescents with CP in ASCs.
Figure 1. PRISMA flow diagram for a systematic literature review on malnutrition among children and adolescents with CP in ASCs.
Nutrients 13 03199 g001
Figure 2. Presence of at least one form of malnutrition (%).
Figure 2. Presence of at least one form of malnutrition (%).
Nutrients 13 03199 g002
Figure 3. Assessment of publication bias by a funnel plot of the proportion of malnutrition estimates against corresponding standard error.
Figure 3. Assessment of publication bias by a funnel plot of the proportion of malnutrition estimates against corresponding standard error.
Nutrients 13 03199 g003
Table 1. The Arabic-speaking countries in alphabetical order.
Table 1. The Arabic-speaking countries in alphabetical order.
CountryOfficial NameTotal Populations *Population Aged ≤ 19 years * (%)
AlgeriaPeople’s Democratic Republic of Algeria43,851,04316,409,237 (37)
BahrainKingdom of Bahrain1,701,583399,990 (24)
ComorosUnion of the Comoros869,595428,906 (49)
DjiboutiRepublic of Djibouti988,002376,430 (38)
EgyptArab Republic of Egypt102,334,40343,413,971 (42)
EmiratesUnited Arab Emirates9,890,4001,854,704 (19)
IraqRepublic of Iraq40,222,50319,320,987 (48)
JordanHashemite Kingdom of Jordan10,203,1404,392,416 (43)
KuwaitState of Kuwait4,270,5631,141,552 (27)
LebanonLebanese Republic6,825,4422,287,154 (34)
LibyaState of Libya6,871,2872,471,165 (36)
MauritaniaIslamic Republic of Mauritania4,649,6602,315,383 (50)
MoroccoKingdom of Morocco36,910,55812,849,811 (35)
OmanSultanate of Oman5,106,6621,362,877 (27)
PalestineState of Palestine5,101,4162,474,021 (48)
QatarState of Qatar2,881,060498,936 (17)
Saudi ArabiaKingdom of Saudi Arabia34,813,86710,816,497 (31)
SomaliaFederal Republic of Somalia15,893,2199,152,954 (58)
SudanRepublic of Sudan43,849,26922,252,463 (51)
SyriaSyrian Arab Republic17,500,6576,961,028 (40)
TunisiaRepublic of Tunisia11,818,6183,657,697 (31)
YemenRepublic of Yemen29,825,96814,783,682 (50)
* Estimates, 2020, (accessed on 8 July 2021).
Table 2. Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (NOS) scores for included studies.
Table 2. Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (NOS) scores for included studies.
Max 4 Stars
Max 2 Stars
Max 3 Stars
Score *
Max 9 Stars
Mohamed et al., 2021 [11]★★★★★★★★★9
Al-Blowi et al., 2020 [12]★★★★★★7
Almuneef et al., 2019 [4]★★★★★★★★★9
Tomoum. et al., 2010 [13]★★★★★★★8
Larin et al., 2007 [14]★★★★★6
Ibrahim et al., 2007 [15]★★★★★★★★8
Al-Ghamdi et al., 2002 [16]★★★★★6
* Thresholds for converting the Newcastle-Ottawa scales to AHRQ standards (good, fair, and poor): Good quality: 3 or 4 stars in selection domain AND 1 or 2 stars in comparability domain AND 2 or 3 stars in outcome/exposure domain. Fair quality: 2 stars in selection domain AND 1 or 2 stars in comparability domain AND 2 or 3 stars in outcome/exposure domain. Poor quality: 0 or 1 star in selection domain or 0 stars in comparability domain or 0 or 1 stars in outcome/exposure domain.
Table 3. Summary of characteristics of included studies.
Table 3. Summary of characteristics of included studies.
IDAuthorsCountryStudy PeriodStudy DesignStudy SettingsStudy PopulationSample SizeAge of ParticipantsFemale: Male (%)
1.Mohamed et al., 2021 [11]Saudi ArabiaSep 2018–Mar 2019Cross-sectionalSchool basedChildren with special health care needs including CPN = 400, CP: n = 43Range: 6–16 yearsCP information not reported
2.Al-Blowi et al., 2020 [12]Saudi Arabia2012–2016Retrospective record reviewHospital/institution-basedChildren with CPN = 119Mean (standard deviation [SD]): 5.9 (3.8) yearsF: 53.0; M: 47
3.Almuneef et al., 2019 [4]Saudi ArabiaJan–Aug 2015Cross-sectionalHospital/institution-basedChildren with CPN = 74Range: 1–12 yearsF: 41.0; M: 59
4.Tomoum. et al., 2010 [13]EgyptApr–Oct 2007Cross-sectionalHospital/institution-basedChildren with CP and controlsN = 80, CP: n = 40Range: 2–8 yearsF: 47.5; M: 52.5
5.Larin et al., 2007 [14]United Arab EmiratesNot reportedCross sectionalPopulation basedChildren with physical disability including CPN = 17, CP: n = 12Range: 4.2–18.4 years;mean (SD): 10.4 (4.6) yearsF: 41.7; M: 58.3
6.Ibrahim et al., 2007 [15]JordanMar 2005–Mar 2006Cross sectionalHospital/institution-basedChildren with spastic CP and control group without CPN = 151, CP: n = 71Range: 3–7 yearsNot reported
7.Al-Ghamdi et al., 2002 [16]Saudi Arabia1998Not reportedHospital/institution-basedChildren with disability including CPN = 111, CP: n = 41Range: 1.1- just over 13 years; Mean (SD): 6.0 (2.7) yearsF: 48.2; M: 51.8
Table 4. Anthropometric measurements used.
Table 4. Anthropometric measurements used.
IDAuthorsAnthropometric Measurements UsedNutritional Indicator Reported
1.Mohamed et al., 2021 [11](i) weight, (ii) heightBMI
2.Al-Blowi et al., 2020 [12](i) weight, (ii) height, (iii) head circumferenceweight-for age (underweight)
3.Almuneef et al., 2019 [4](i) weight, (ii) height, (iii) arm circumference, (iv) arm muscle circumference, and (v) triceps skinfold thicknessweight-for age z-score, weight-for-height z-score, height-for-age z-score, BMI-for-age z-score, arm circumference, arm muscle circumference, triceps skinfold thickness
4.Tomoum. et al., 2010 [13](i) body weight, (ii) head circumference, (iii) mid-upper arm circumference, (iv) waist and hip circumferences(i) weight percentile, (ii) height percentile, (iii) BMI percentile, (iv) hip circumference, (v) waist-to-hip circumference ratio
5.Larin et al., 2007 [14](i) weight, (ii) heightBMI, BMI-for-age percentile
6.Ibrahim et al., 2007 [15](i) stature, (ii) weight, (iii) head circumference, (iv) mid-upper arm circumferenceMean value for each measurement according to motor type of CP
7.Al-Ghamdi et al., 2002 [16](i) weightweight for height z-score (wasting)
Table 5. Key findings of the included studies.
Table 5. Key findings of the included studies.
IDAuthorsSample SizeProportion of Malnutrition among Children with CPFactors Related to Nutritional Status
1.Mohamed et al., 2021 [11]N = 400, CP: n = 43
  • Underweight: 7%.
  • Overweight: 7%.
  • Obese: 34.9%.
  • Positive association was found between dental caries and obesity among participating children.
2.Al-Blowi et al., 2020 [12]N = 119
  • Underweight: 84.9%.
  • Overweight: 2.5%.
  • Underlying factors of undernutrition: feeding difficulty, and medical complications were found associated to malnutrition.
3.Almuneef et al., 2019 [4]N = 74
  • Malnourished: 55.4%.
  • Thinness: 50.0%.
  • Underweight: 28.4%.
  • Stunting: 33.8%.
  • Wasting: 25.0%.
  • Underlying factors of undernutrition: Age, cognitive impairment, anemia, and inadequate energy intake.
4.Tomoum. et al., 2010 [13]N = 80, CP: n = 40
  • Weight percentile < 10th: 14.3% among males, 15.8% among females.
  • Weight percentile < 50th: 38.1% among males, 47.4% among females.
  • Height percentile < 10th: 5.3% among females, 4.8% among males.
  • Height percentile < 50th: 47.7% among males, 78.9% among females.
  • Overall, children with CP had significantly lower weight, height, head circumference, waist circumference and TST than children without CP.
  • Underlying factors of undernutrition: Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) level III-V and oro-motor dysfunction.
5.Larin et al., 2007 [14]N = 17, CP: n = 12
  • Thinness (i.e., BMI-for-age < 15th percentile): 75%.
  • Overweight (i.e., BMI-for-age z-score 85th- < 97th percentile): 25%.
  • Mean (SD) BMI-for-age z-score: 15.6 (3.5) kg/m2.
  • Not reported.
6.Ibrahim et al., 2007 [15]N = 151, CP: n = 71
  • Mean values;
  • Stature (cm): diplegic—males 99.6, females 96.1; quadriplegic—males 92.0, females 92.0; hemiplegic—males 102.4, females 94.0.
  • Weight (kg): diplegic—males 15.1, females 15; quadriplegic—males 12.6, females 11.2; hemiplegic—males 17.1, females 16.5.
  • Head circumference (cm): diplegic—males 49.6, females 49.4; quadriplegic—males 45.7, females 46.3; hemiplegic—males 52.1, females 41.5.
  • Arm circumference (cm): diplegic—males 17.2, females 17.0; quadriplegic—males 15.7, females 14.7; hemiplegic—males 18.0, females 16.3.
  • Overall, stature, weight, head circumference and MUAC of children with CP were significantly lower compared to the control groups.
  • Weight was significantly associated with gross motor function.
7.Al-Ghamdi et al., 2002 [16]N = 111, CP: n = 41
  • Severely malnourished: 83%.
  • Not reported.
Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Back to TopTop