Biomarkers of cardiometabolic health are associated with body composition characteristics but not physical activity in persons with spinal cord injury

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Objective: To examine (i) the associations between physical activity dimensions, cardiorespiratory fitness and body composition and, (ii) the associations between physical activity dimensions, cardiorespiratory fitness, body composition and biomarkers of cardiometabolic health in persons with spinal cord injury (SCI). Methods: A cross-sectional prospective cohort study with 7-day follow-up was conducted. Body composition, cardiorespiratory fitness and biomarkers of cardiometabolic health were measured in thirty-three participants with SCI (> 1 year post injury). Physical activity dimensions were objectively assessed over 7-days. Results: Activity energy expenditure (r =.43), physical activity level (r =.39), and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) (r =.48) were significantly (P < 0.001) associated with absolute (L/min) peak oxygen uptake (⩒O 2 peak). ⩒O 2 peak was significantly higher in persons performing ≥150 MVPA minutes/week compared to <40 minutes/week (P = 0.003). Individual physical activity dimensions were not significantly associated with biomarkers of cardiometabolic health. However, body composition characteristics (BMI, waist and hip circumference) showed significant (P < 0.04), moderate (r >.30) associations with parameters of metabolic regulation, lipid profiles and inflammatory biomarkers. Relative ⩒O 2 peak (ml/kg/min) was moderately associated with only insulin sensitivity (r = 0.37, P = 0.03). Conclusions: Physical activity dimensions are associated with cardiorespiratory fitness; however, stronger and more consistent associations suggest that poor cardiometabolic health is associated with higher body fat content. Given these findings, the regulation of energy balance should be an important consideration for researchers and clinicians looking to improve cardiometabolic health in persons with SCI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-337
Number of pages10
JournalThe Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine
Issue number3
Early online date13 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2019



  • Cardiorespiratory fitness
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Metabolic disease
  • Paraplegia
  • Inflammation
  • Metabolic disease
  • Paraplegia
  • Cardiorespiratory fitness
  • Cardiovascular disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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