Metabolic syndrome in people with a long-standing spinal cord injury: Associations with physical activity and capacity

Sonja de Groot*, Jacinthe J. Adriaansen, Marga Tepper, Govert J. Snoek, Lucas H.V. van der Woude, Marcel W.M. Post

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study investigated (i) the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome (MetS) in people with a long-standing spinal cord injury (SCI); (ii) whether personal or lesion characteristics are determinants of the MetS; and (iii) the association with physical activity or peak aerobic capacity on the MetS. In a cross-sectional study, persons with SCI (N = 223; time since injury of ≥10 years) were tested. The individual components of the MetS were assessed together with the physical activity measured by the Physical Activity Scale for Individuals with Physical Disabilities (PASIPD), while peak aerobic capacity was tested during a graded wheelchair exercise test on a treadmill. Thirty-nine percent of the participants had MetS. In a multivariate logistic regression analyses and after performing a backward regression analysis, only age and education were significant determinants of the MetS. A 10-year increase in age leads to a 1.5 times more chance to have the MetS. Furthermore, people with a low education will multiply the relative risk of MetS compared with people with high education by almost 2. With and without correcting for confounders, no significant relationship was found between PASIPD or peak aerobic capacity and the MetS. It can be concluded that the prevalence of the MetS is high (39%) in people with a long-standing SCI but is comparable to the general Dutch population. Older people and those with a lower education level are most at risk for the MetS. Physical activity and peak aerobic fitness were not related to the MetS in this group with a long-standing SCI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1190-1196
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Abdominal obesity
  • Blood pressure
  • Fasting glucose
  • High-density lipoprotein
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Triglycerides


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