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Prevalence of obesity and high blood pressure in veterans with spinal cord injuries and disorders: a retrospective review.

Weaver FM, Collins EG, Kurichi J, Miskevics S, Smith B, Rajan S, Gater D. Prevalence of obesity and high blood pressure in veterans with spinal cord injuries and disorders: a retrospective review. American journal of physical medicine & rehabilitation / Association of Academic Physiatrists. 2007 Jan 1; 86(1):22-9.

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OBJECTIVE: A frequent cause of mortality in spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCIandD) is cardiovascular disease (CVD). Obesity and high blood pressure (BP) are modifiable risk factors for CVD. DESIGN: Retrospective review of clinical and administrative data for 7959 veterans with SCIandD. Data elements included height, weight, blood pressure, demographics, and level of injury. Analyses included descriptive statistics and generalized logistic regressions. RESULTS: Twenty percent of veterans were obese according to their body mass index (BMI), and 33% were overweight; 22% had high BP ( > or = 140/90 mm Hg). Because BMI underestimates obesity in SCIandD, adjusted BMIs for overweight (23-27 kg/m2) and obesity (28+ kg/m2) indicate that those overweight increased to 37%, and 31% were obese. Veterans ages 50-64 or who had paraplegia were more likely to be overweight and obese than others; being white or age 65+ was associated with a higher likelihood of being overweight. Veterans who were overweight or obese, black, older (age 50+), and paraplegic were more likely to have higher blood pressure. CONCLUSIONS: Obesity and high BP rates were lower for veterans with SCIandD than the general population. However, because BMI underestimates body adiposity in SCIandD, obesity is likely a much more prevalent problem in this population and warrants attention.

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