Longitudinal association between lifestyle and coronary heart disease risk factors among individuals with spinal cord injury

S. de Groot*, M. W. Post, G. J. Snoek, M. Schuitemaker, L. H. van der Woude

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objective: To investigate: (1) the course of coronary heart disease risk factors (lipid profiles and body mass index (BMI)) in the first five years after discharge from inpatient spinal cord injury (SCI) rehabilitation and (2) the association between lifestyle (physical activity, self-care related to fitness, smoking, alcohol, body mass and low-fat diet) and coronary heart disease risk factors during that period.

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Participants/methods: Individuals with SCI (N = 130). Total cholesterol (TC), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), triglycerides (TG) and BMI were determined at discharge from inpatient rehabilitation and 1 and 5 years after discharge. Using multilevel regression models, the effects of lifestyle (drinking alcohol, smoking, active lifestyle and self-care) on the lipid profiles and BMI were determined.

Results: After correction for lesion and personal characteristics, no changes in lipid profiles in the five years after discharge were seen, whereas the BMI increased significantly with 1.8 kg m(-2). A high percentage was at risk of cardiovascular disease due to high BMI (63-75%) or HDL (66-95%). The individuals who indicated to maintain their fitness level as good as possible and the individuals with a low BMI showed better lipid profiles. Individuals with a more active lifestyle showed higher HDL levels. Individuals who avoid smoking showed a 1.5 kg m(-2) higher BMI.

Conclusion: Lipid profiles seem to stabilize in the years after discharge from inpatient SCI rehabilitation, whereas the BMI increased. Lifestyle factors associated with a favorable lipid profile and BMI could be identified. Spinal Cord (2013) 51, 314-318; doi:10.1038/sc.2012.153; published online 4 December 2012

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-318
Number of pages5
JournalSpinal Cord
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2013


  • spinal cord injury
  • cardiovascular disease
  • lipid profile
  • body mass index
  • lifestyle
  • MEN

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