Objectives: The purpose of this review is to describe the current scientific literature on the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in children with myelomeningocele and to gain insight into the baseline levels of aerobic fitness, endurance, and strength in this population in order to identify gaps in knowledge, suggest potential primary prevention strategies, and provide recommendations for future studies. Methods: A literature review of articles published in English and French between 1990 and April 2020 was conducted. Results: Obese adolescents with myelomeningocele have an increased prevalence of components of the metabolic syndrome. Children and adolescents with myelomeningocele have decreased aerobic fitness and muscular strength, decreased lean mass, and increased fat mass, all of which, when combined with higher levels of physical inactivity, put them at higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases. Conclusion: Until more research is conducted, addressing weight-related challenges and promoting healthy habits (such as optimal activity levels) could be easily integrated into yearly myelomeningocele clinics. An actionable suggestion might be to systematically weigh and measure children in these clinics and utilize the results and trends as a talking point with the parents and children. The follow-up appointments could also be used to develop physical activity goals and monitor progress. We recommend that the health care practitioner tasked with this intervention (physician, nurse, etc.) should be aware of locally available accessible sports platforms and have knowledge of motivational interviewing to facilitate removal of perceived barriers to physical activity.

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