Body mass index in spinal cord injury — a retrospective study.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective chart review.

OBJECTIVE: To identify the prevalence of overweight and severely overweight (obese) in veterans with spinal cord injury.

SETTING: Veterans Administration Hospital in Wisconsin.

METHODS: A retrospective chart review of all the patients registered in the current database with the Spinal Cord Injury Unit in the Veterans Administration Hospital was undertaken Data collected for each patient included age, sex, height, date of assessment of the height, weight, date of assessment of the weight, duration of spinal cord injury and the type of spinal cord injury — paraplegia versus quadriplegia. The body mass index (BMI) was subsequently calculated for each patient and the prevalence of overweight and obesity were determined.

RESULTS: There were a total of 408 patients registered in the database with the Spinal Injury Unit. The median age was 56 years, and the mean age 55.8 years. Of all patients with spinal cord injury, 52.2% patients had paraplegia and 47.7% had quadriplegia. The mean duration of injury was 19 years. Of the total number of patients, 46.0% were ASIA A, 11.0% were ASIA B, 12.7% were ASIA C and 29.1% were ASIA D. In all, 27.9% patients had a normal BMI and 3.6% patients were undernourished (BMI less than 18.5 kg/m(2)). The prevalence of overweight was 65.8% and 29.9% patients were obese.

CONCLUSION: Overweight and obesity are problems of a significant magnitude in veterans with spinal cord injury.