Weight matters: Physical and psychosocial well being of persons with spinal cord injury in relation to body mass index

Short Title:
Model System:
Reference Type:
Journal Article
Accession No.:
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Year, Volume, Issue, Page(s):
2011, vol. 92, issue 3, pp 391-398
Publication Website:
Study examined the influence of body mass index (BMI) on physical and psychosocial health and functioning among people with spinal cord injury (SCI). A total of 1,381 people (1,107 men and 274 women), who received follow-up in 2006 to 2009, were recruited from 16 SCI Model Systems throughout the United States. Participants were classified into 1 of the 4 BMI categories based on self-reported height and measured weight: underweight, normal, overweight, and obese. Outcomes included measures of physical health and functioning (rehospitalization, pain, self-perceived health, and the Functional Independence Measure); and psychosocial well-being (the Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique, Patient Health Questionnaire-9, and the Diener’s Satisfaction With Life Scale. The prevalence of underweight, overweight, and obesity was 7.5 percent, 31.4 percent, and 22.1 percent, respectively, which varied by age, sex, marital status, education, and neurologic impairment. For those with tetraplegia and functional motor complete injuries, rehospitalization occurred more frequently among obese persons, while days rehospitalized were the longest among underweight persons. Pain was more severe in those classified as obese. Community mobility was lower in the underweight, overweight, and obese groups than in those with normal weight. There was no significant association between BMI and self-perceived health, functional independence, health status, and satisfaction with life beyond the effect of neurologic impairment.
Chen Y, Cao Y, Allen V, Richards JS
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