Eat, Sleep, Play - CP Study

A study about body composition in children with cerebral palsy, and how this might be related to what they EAT, how they SLEEP, and when they PLAY.

What is the Eat, Sleep, Play - CP study about?

We all know that what our kids EAT can be important for maintaining a healthy body weight and building strong bones. But we don’t often pay attention to how they EAT in relation when they SLEEP and PLAY, and there seems to be very little nutritional advice in general given to our tamariki with Hōkai Nukurangi (cerebral palsy) and their families.

It is important for us to understand how some of these factors in children with cerebral palsy might actually be helping (or hindering) their health - specifically how this might be related to their body composition (how much muscle and body fat they may have, and how strong their bones are).

Who can take part?

To be in the study, children must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
  • Be between the ages of 5 and 12.
  • Be happy to lie still for 10 minutes.
  • Be able to travel to the University of Auckland, Grafton on two occasions (free parking will be made available).
  • Have access to a smart phone, tablet or laptop/computer with internet.

What does the study involve?

If you and your child decide to participate in this study, we will ask that you both attend TWO appointments at the University of Auckland, Grafton, approximately three months apart. We will work around your schedule and book the appointments at a convenient time for you and your child.

Before both appointments, we will ask you to complete a 3-day food diary, recording the type, amount, and timing of food intake for your child.

At both visits to the university:

  • We will ask you to complete a short questionnaire about your child’s health, mobility, sleep, and activity.
  • Your child will have a DXA (pronounced “decsa”) scan: It is the gold standard for assessing body composition (body fat, muscle mass and bone strength).

As part of your involvement in this study, you and your child will be given feedback on their EAT, SLEEP, PLAY profile, along with individualised information about how they might want to try to change their eating behaviour (or keep it the same).

We will give you written information to take home to help you follow the advice given, and over the 12 weeks in between your visits, our research team will check in with you to see if you and your child have any questions or need any additional help in following the advice given to you.

You will receive Koha for both visits to the university.

Get in touch

To find out more or to register your interest in taking part, please contact the study co-ordinator, Dr Sian Williams at