Obesity and its consequences affect patients with spinal cord injury (SCI). There is a paucity of data with regard to the dietary intake patterns of patients with SCI in the acute inpatient rehabilitation setting. Our hypothesis is that acute rehabilitation inpatients with SCI consume significantly more calories and protein than other inpatient rehabilitation diagnoses.
To compare calorie and protein intake in patients with new SCI versus other diagnoses (new traumatic brain injury [TBI], new stroke, and Parkinson’s disease [PD]) in the acute inpatient rehabilitation setting.
The intake of 78 acute rehabilitation inpatients was recorded by registered dieticians utilizing once-weekly calorie and protein intake calculations.
Mean ± SD calorie intake (kcal) for the SCI, TBI, stroke, and PD groups was 1,967.9 ± 611.6, 1,546.8 ± 352.3, 1,459.7 ± 443.2, and 1,459.4 ± 434.6, respectively. ANOVA revealed a significant overall group difference, F(3, 74) = 4.74, P = .004. Mean ± SD protein intake (g) for the SCI, TBI, stroke, and PD groups was 71.5 ± 25.0, 61.1 ± 12.8, 57.6 ± 16.6, and 55.1 ± 19.1, respectively. ANOVA did not reveal an overall group difference, F(3, 74) = 2.50, P = .066.
Given the diet-related comorbidities and energy balance abnormalities associated with SCI, combined with the intake levels demonstrated in this study, education with regard to appropriate calorie intake in patients with SCI should be given in the acute inpatient rehabilitation setting.