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Obesity Management in Spinal Cord Injury through Leisure Time Physical Activity

Julianne Hirst, Heather Porter


The research on obesity management in the spinal cord injury (SCI) population makes three things clear. First, obesity is under assessed, under managed, and under studied in the SCI population. The development of SCI specific assessment tools and diagnostic criteria is necessary to accurately identify obesity in the SCI population (Gater, 2007; Rajan, McNeely, Warms, & Goldstein, 2008). Secondly, clinicians wishing to address obesity management with SCI clients must recognize the need to address lifestyle behaviors, such as adherence to a proper diet and physical activity levels, together; clinicians should not assume that participation in leisure time physical activity (LTPA) is automatically associated with a healthy diet (Knight, Buchholz, Martin Ginis, & Goy, 2012). And lastly, influencing client personal factors, such as intentions and social support, through targeted interventions will have the largest impact on increasing LTPA participation levels and maintaining an active pattern trajectory over time (Martin Ginis et al., 2012; Sweet & Martin Ginis, 2012).


obesity; spinal cord injury; leisure time physical activity; recreational therapy

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