ADIPOSITY AND CORONARY HEART DISEASE RISK FACTORS IN INDIVIDUALS WITH SPINAL CORD INJURY: RELATIONSHIPS WITH ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING, SECONDARY COMPLICATIONS, AND SUBJECTIVE WELL-BEING
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The purpose of this thesis was to examine coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors and secondary complications in individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). In particular, this thesis was organized around the central theme of adiposity, which is a prevalent complication following SCI. Study 1 focused on understanding the relationships between activities of daily living (ADL) and CHD risk factors including central adiposity, lipoproteins, and triglycerides. Using generalized linear models, while controlling for pertinent covariates such as sex, age, and leisure time physical activity (LTPA), it was found that Mobility ADL (wheeling and transferring) were negatively associated with total and LDL-cholesterol. Study 2 examined whether individuals who considered themselves to be overweight subsequently had less favourable subjective well-being, and were more likely to report specific secondary complications than individuals who did not consider themselves to be overweight. Logistic regression analysis and partial correlations controlling for pertinent covariates such as sex, age, and injury severity, revealed that individuals who considered themselves to be overweight reported greater pain, depression, overuse injuries, and fatigue, and less satisfaction with life than individuals who did not consider themselves to be overweight. In summary, the findings suggest that a) participation in specific types of ADL (i.e. Mobility ADL) are associated with a lower CHD risk and should be further explored and that b) elevated perceived adiposity is associated with specific secondary complications and lower subjective well-being. Overall thesis findings support the overwhelming evidence of the benefits of daily physical activity and maintaining a healthy bodyweight in the SCI population.