Content » Vol 53, Issue 4

Review article

Effectiveness of exercise interventions for children with cerebral palsy: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Xianrong Liang, Zhujiang Tan, Guojun Yun, Jianguo Cao, Jinggang Wang, Qing Liu, Turong Chen
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Shenzhen children's Hospital, Shenzhen, China
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2772


Objective: The results of previous research into exercise interventions for children with cerebral palsy are inconsistent. The aim of this study is to assess the effectiveness of such exercise interventions.
Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis.
Methods: Systematic searches of the PubMed, Embase and Cochrane Library databases for randomized controlled trials involving exercise interventions for children with cerebral palsy, from inception to January 2020, were performed. Pooled weighted mean differences (WMDs) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) for gross motor function, gait speed, and muscle strength were calculated using random-effects models.
Results: A final total of 27 trials, including 834 children with cerebral palsy, were selected for quantitative analysis. Exercise interventions had no significant effect on the level of gross motor function (WMD 1.19; 95% CI −1.07 to 3.46; p  =  0.302). However, exercise interventions were associated with higher levels of gait speed (WMD 0.05; 95% CI 0.00–0.10; p  =  0.032) and muscle strength (WMD 0.92; 95% CI 0.19–1.64; p  =  0.013).
Conclusion: These results suggest that exercise interventions may have beneficial effects on gait speed and muscle strength, but no significant effect on gross motor function in children with cerebral palsy.

Lay Abstract

Cerebral palsy is the most common cause of physical impairment in children. This study evaluated the effectiveness of exercise interventions for children with cerebral palsy. Exercise interventions were significantly associated with increased gait speed and muscle strength, while gross motor function was not affected. Exercise interventions should therefore be used for children with cerebral palsy.

Supplementary content


Do you want to comment on this paper? The comments will show up here and if appropriate the comments will also separately be forwarded to the authors. You need to login/create an account to comment on articles. Click here to login/create an account.