“Special Nutritional Needs for People with SCI/D,” March 2006
According to this webpage, people with spinal cord injury or disorders (SCI/D) are more likely to be obese, which causes many health issues, including increased risk for diabetes and heart disease, which may be deadly for this population. The webpage describes the study by Dr. David Gater Jr., director of Spinal Cord Injury Medicine at the University of Michigan and a research physician at the Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs Medical Center, which examined the epidemic of obesity in people with SCI/D. It is important for people with SCI/D to heed advice such as avoiding sweets and fats, and if he or she has a skin wound such as a pressure ulcer, his or her protein needs will be greater.
United Spinal Association
75-20 Astoria Blvd
Jackson Heights, NY 11370
Format Fact sheet
This fact sheet describes the risks involved when people with disabilities gain weight, such as increased risk of injury, more pressure and moisture on the skin due to excess weight, and problems finding attendants to help. It also discusses: the changes the body’s metabolism undergoes following spinal cord injury; why ideal body weight should be different in people with spinal cord injury compared to people without disabilities; the importance of moving past denial and using the two standard components of responsible weight management, which are exercise and diet; and finding motivation. Diet tips are provided.
3425 South Clarkson Street
Englewood, CO 80113
“Weight Management after Spinal Cord Injury” by Suparna Rajan, PhD, Catherine Warms, PhD, ARNP, and Barry Goldstein, MD, PhD, Spinal Cord Injury Update, Summer 2008: Volume 17, Number 3
University of Washington, Northwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury System Rehabilitation Medicine
Format Online article
This article states that being overweight is common in people with spinal cord injury (SCI) due to reduced activity, which is based on the extent of the injury. It describes the effects of excess fat, how body fat is estimated, and weight loss methods for SCI. A 12-week weight loss program is described, which used a combination of behavior modification techniques, diet, and activity in a group of 16 people with SCI and resulted in weight loss and improvements in BMI, waist and neck circumference, total fat mass, diet behavior, and measures of psychosocial and physical functioning (“Obesity intervention in persons with spinal cord injury,”Chen et al., 2006). Research is needed to determine if other medical and surgical treatments for obesity used in people without SCI are safe and effective for weight loss in people with SCI. The article mentions a research study being conducted by the author which asked people with SCI about weight management, including what people with SCI have done to lose or maintain weight, and what strategies have or have not worked (for more information, see http://sci.washington.edu/info/newsletters/articles/08_sum_weight_study.asp).
University of Washington
Northwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury System
Rehabilitation Medicine, Box 356490
Seattle, WA 98195
“Weight Management following SCI–SCI InfoSheet #8”
University of Alabama in Birmingham Spinal Cord Injury Model System
This webpage states that after experiencing a spinal cord injury (SCI), people usually experience dramatic weight changes; the initial reaction of the body is weight loss, but over time, this loss turns into gain due to a slower metabolism caused by inactivity and a decrease in muscle mass. It also describes the benefits of a healthy weight management program for people with spinal cord injury (SCI). Healthy changes in food choices are discussed, as well as behavior changes in meal planning, shopping, cooking, and dining out. It is important to improve self-talk and replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Other tips include working on reducing stress and setting realistic goals. In addition to helping lose fat and gain muscle mass, participating in physical activities helps people feel better and have more energy. Ideas for ways to get physical activity are provided. One should visit the doctor at least once per year to manage any nutritional problems that may arise, as well as other problems.
UAB Spinal Cord Injury Model System
619 19TH Street South – SRC 529
Birmingham, AL 35249-7330