Glucose tolerance and physical activity level in people with spinal cord injury

J. Raymond*, A. R. Harmer, J. Temesi, C. Van Kemenade

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Study design: Cross-sectional, observational study. Objectives: To evaluate the associations of physical activity and neurological lesion level with glucose tolerance in people with spinal cord injury (SCI). Setting: New South Wales, Australia. Methods: Twenty-five people (5 women, 20 men) with SCI (>6 months post-injury) aged between 18 and 65 years were recruited. Exclusion criteria included known coronary heart disease, stroke or diabetes. Participants underwent an oral glucose tolerance test. Fasting and 2-h plasma glucose concentrations were classified according to the World Health Organization categories of glycemia. Participants also completed the Physical Activity Scale for Individuals with Physical Disabilities and mean MET-hours day 1 was calculated. Associations with the 2-h plasma glucose concentration were calculated through multiple and stepwise regressions. Results: Participants presented with complete or incomplete tetraplegia (n11 TETRA) or complete or incomplete paraplegia (n14 PARA) with neurological lesion levels ranging from C3/4 to T12. Mean 2-h plasma glucose was 7.132.32 mmol l 1. Nine participants had disordered glycemia (n6 TETRA; n3 PARA) and the remaining participants had normal glucose tolerance. Those participants with normal glucose tolerance participated in more moderate-vigorous and strength exercise and undertook more non-exercise-related mobility than those with disordered glycemia. Physical activity and age, but not lesion level were independent determinants of 2-h plasma glucose concentration (r0.683, P0.001), explaining 47% of the variance. Conclusion: Physical activity level is independently associated with glucose tolerance in people with SCI. Non-exercise activity may also be important for maintaining normal glycemia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-597
Number of pages7
JournalSpinal Cord
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


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