Children with cerebral palsy possess complex and challenging needs that require proper management. Nutritional management is one of the issues that require adequate attention from health care providers, parents, and their communities. Eating a healthy diet is an important aspect of maintaining the overall health and quality of life of children with cerebral palsy (CP). It is especially important for a 12-year-old male with CP who is confined to a wheelchair and wants to play basketball. There are various evidence and best practices applied in the nutritional management of children with cerebral palsy. They provide simple and practical suggestions to non-experts like parents to assist them in managing their children’s nutrition needs. The solutions are aimed at ensuring that the children are not at risk of undernutrition leading to negative consequences. It is also possible for the children to engage in physical activity through the nutritional assessments that ensure specific nutritional requirements are met.
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The child with (CP) confined to a wheelchair and intending to play basketball will require nutritional interventions. This will involve individualized meal plans aimed at improving his nutritional health and engaging in physical activity effectively. The interventions assist in assessing the current nutritional status and determining the specific nutritional requirements (Kuperminc, et al., 2013)
The first step in ensuring the healthy nutrition of the child entails interpreting his nutritional status. This is done through an assessment based on multiple methodologies such as examining his diet history, physical examination, and anthropometry. Next, it is essential to ascertain the child’s target weight or the target multiple skins folds in a clinical setting (Kuperminc, et al., 2013). Moreover, the child should start a safe eating experience, with food containing the proper level of nutrients and enough fiber. The food should also have a palatable texture or allow proper digestion to take place. In some cases, supplemental diets and nutrition will be required to meet the necessary nutritional needs. The assessments conducted will also assist to find out the feeding difficulties and oral motor dysfunction the child may have. Treatment will then be provided to prevent or treat existing undernourishment while at the same time improving the child’s oral motor skills (Kuperminc, et al., 2013).
The child’s energy needs, protein needs, and fluid requirements are considered while determining the specific nutritional requirements. There are specific standards applied to estimate energy, proteins, and fluid needs in children with CP. For instance, the DRI equation of estimating energy needs may be useful for this child. This is because it is adjusted to meet an individual’s needs and includes the Physical Activity Coefficients. The child’s protein needs can be estimated using the DRI and the appropriate weight for height. Fluid requirement estimations may be done using the child’s actual weight. This is particularly important since there is a lot of fluid loss through sweating while playing basketball. After conducting these estimations, appropriate adjustments are made in food intakes to meet specific nutritional requirements (Kuperminc, et al., 2013).
Nutrition health is important for children with CP; it is even more important for a 12-year-old male, who is wheelchair-bound and intends to engage in physical activity. Conducting a nutritional assessment and determining specific nutritional requirements are essential in ensuring the nutrition of this child is properly maintained.
Kuperminc, M. N., Gottrand, F., Samson-Fang, L., Arvedson, J., Bell, K., Craig, G. M., & Sullivan, P. B. (2013). Nutritional management of children with cerebral palsy: a practical guide. European journal of clinical nutrition, 67, S21-S23.