Associations between leisure time physical activity and cardiovascular risk factors among older adults with long-term spinal cord injury
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STUDY DESIGN: This is a cross-sectional study. OBJECTIVES: To describe the association between cardiovascular risk factors (body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), blood pressure, blood glucose and lipids) and leisure time physical activity (LTPA) in older adults with long-term spinal cord injury (SCI). SETTING: Community settings, southern Sweden. METHODS: Data from the baseline data collection of the Swedish Aging with Spinal Cord Injury Study (SASCIS) (n = 123, 71% men, injury levels C1-L5, American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale A-D, mean age 63 years, mean time since injury 24 years). Data were collected through home interviews, assessments and blood samples. The Physical Activity Recall Assessment for People with SCI was used to assess LTPA. Associations were investigated using multivariable linear regression analyses adjusted for age, gender, level and severity of injury, cause of injury, time since injury and tobacco use. RESULTS: More minutes per day of moderate-to-heavy LTPA were significantly associated with a lower BMI (Beta = -0.31; p = 0.001) and a lower WC (Beta = -0.24; p = 0.009). More minutes per day of total LTPA (mild intensity or greater) were associated with a higher systolic blood pressure (Beta = 0.27; p = 0.041) among participants with tetraplegia. No other significant associations between the cardiovascular risk factors and total LTPA were found. CONCLUSION: Participation in daily LTPA is associated with better cardiovascular health with regard to BMI and WC in older adults with long-term SCI. Further studies are needed to establish the specific amount of activity needed to obtain positive health effects in this group and the directional causality of the associations. SPONSORSHIP: Not applicable.
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