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Open Access Research article

Weight-based nutritional diagnosis of Mexican children and adolescents with neuromotor disabilities

Rodrigo Vega-Sanchez1*, Maria de la Luz Gomez-Aguilar2, Karime Haua3 and Guadalupe Rozada3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Nutrition Research, Instituto Nacional de Perinatología Isidro Espinosa de los Reyes, Mexico City, Mexico

2 Nutrition Department, Centro de Rehabilitación Infantil Teletón, Estado de Mexico, Mexico

3 Independent consultant, Mexico City, Mexico

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:218  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-218

Published: 4 May 2012



Nutrition related problems are increasing worldwide but they have scarcely been evaluated in people with neuromotor disabilities, particularly in developing countries. In this study our aim was to describe the weight-based nutritional diagnoses of children and adolescents with neuromotor disabilities who attended a private rehabilitation center in Mexico City.


Data from the first visit’s clinical records of 410 patients who attended the Nutrition department at the Teleton Center for Children Rehabilitation, between 1999 and 2008, were analyzed. Sex, age, weight and height, length or segmental length data were collected and used to obtain the nutritional diagnosis based on international growth charts, as well as disability-specific charts. Weight for height was considered the main indicator.


Cerebral palsy was the most frequent diagnosis, followed by spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, and Down’s syndrome. Children with cerebral palsy showed a higher risk of presenting low weight/undernutrition (LW/UN) than children with other disabilities, which was three times higher in females. In contrast, children with spina bifida, particularly males, were more likely to be overweight/obese (OW/OB), especially after the age of 6 and even more after 11. Patients with muscular dystrophy showed a significantly lower risk of LW/UN than patients with other disabilities. In patients with Down’s syndrome neither LW/UN nor OW/OB were different between age and sex.


This is the first study that provides evidence of the nutritional situation of children and adolescents with neuromotor disabilities in Mexico, based on their weight status. Low weight and obesity affect a large number of these patients due to their disability, age and sex. Early nutritional diagnosis must be considered an essential component in the treatment of these patients to prevent obesity and malnutrition, and improve their quality of life.

Nutrition; Obesity; Undernutrition; Children; Adolescents; Disabilities